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And the Jaguars select...


There's no sense waiting a long time. Not on this one.

Besides, because we're talking about the day for which the readers have waited since we kicked off the 2011 reader mock draft nearly three weeks ago, a strong case can be made that we've waited long enough.

We've arrived Tuesday at No. 16, at last.

That's the Jaguars' selection, and with it the readers selected . . .

Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end, Purdue.

We choose Kerrigan knowing there's going to be a whole lot of people who love the selection, and at the same time, a good portion of people who don't like it – not because of any vehemence toward Kerrigan but because he doesn't play quarterback.

Before we get to the discussion and the reasons for picking Kerrigan, let's take a quick second to say this:

The volume of the responses was as overwhelming as the comments were passionate and impressive. It wasn't unexpected, because we had been getting a high level of interest since starting the reader mock, and it stood to reason it would be higher for the Jaguars' selection.

We passed triple digits sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday, and by the time the senior writer really started digging into the comments and analysis, we were past 150 en route to 170.

At some point, we just had to cut it off.

And as we did, and as the senior writer began digging deep into the pros and cons submitted by readers, it became apparent this would be one of the tougher days.

It became apparent Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith would receive plenty of advice on this day, too. Lucky him.

"If we could trade down that would be the choice, but since we can't, it has to be Cameron Jordan," shaun03 wrote, adding, "Day One starter at the left end position. Will be a 6-to-8 sack guy, maybe more, while stopping the run. Can slide inside on third-and-long to bring in another defensive end for more pass rush."

That set the tone early, and Jordan – as might be expected – received a ton of support. A lot of people liked that he played with Jaguars defensive tackle Tyson Alualu at California, and a solid reputation in terms of character and work ethic played to his favor, too.

The concern about Jordan seemed to be many analysts believe him more of a 3-4 end as opposed to the 4-3 scheme employed by the Jaguars, and there was plenty of debate about Jordan's ability to excel in either scheme.

The debate over Jordan was one issue on Day 16, but a far more divisive issue involved the quarterback who has become the most-discussed prospect in the 2011 reader mock draft in recent days.
That's Christian Ponder of Florida State, and the analysis was strong and varied.

"Christian Ponder will be the Jags' pick," Richard Hamilton wrote, adding, "He is everything you want in a quarterback. I see a similarity to Aaron Rodgers when he was drafted. Ponder will get two or three years behind Garrard to develop and when he gets a chance he will inherent an extremely talented roster built by GM Gene."

The senior writer took a moment to consider the anger in parts of the O-Zone inbox if Ponder --or any rookie first-round quarterback – indeed spent three years as a backup. When he had untangled himself from his fetal position in the corner of his office, he moved on and found plenty of readers less certain about the Ponder selection.

"To people thinking Ponder give me a flipping break," Brian Shane Plyler wrote. He then advocated trading down if the Jaguars really wanted Ponder, but to the chagrin of many readers this is a no-trade mock, so we moved on.

"No way Gene drafts a quarterback at 16," Brandon Martin wrote, adding, "That's one thing I can say for sure."

The senior writer isn't quite as certain that's true, but the statement was indicative of the conviction of many fans with regard to their selection. There was passionate support of Florida guard Mike Pouncey, and proponents of a defensive end supported not only Kerrigan and Jordan, but Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt. Missouri outside linebacker Aldon Smith also received prominent mention.

Those thinking quarterback spent some time on the pros and cons of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, but the consensus was there were too many character issues for Smith to seriously consider him.

In the end, the consensus supported Kerrigan, focusing on his reputation of having a solid character, non-stop motor, reliable work ethic and pass-rushing ability.

Some people seemed just, plain excited about the possibility.

"Ryan Kerrigan – no brainer!!!!" Patrick Smith wrote, not annoying us with those pesky mock draft irritants analysis and insight, and Lance Saunders was equally insightful.

"Kerrigan! Kerrigan! Kerrigan! Kerrigan!" he wrote.

Others were slightly wordier and more thoughtful.

"Seeing as how Gene Smith has said several times that defensive line (particularly end) is perhaps the strongest position in the draft, and how four of the top ends are still available – Kerrigan, Watt, Jordan and Smith – it's unlikely the pick will be any other position," Teal wrote, adding, "That being said, I believe Kerrigan is the best fit for our scheme, system and philosophy. . . ."

That argument was echoed by several throughout the day, and it made as good a sense as any. So, while Jordan and Ponder each made a lot of sense, we went with Kerrigan for the Jaguars at No. 16, making the 2011 reader mock draft look like:

No. 1 | Carolina | Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

No. 2 | Denver | Patrick Peterson, CB, Louisiana State

No. 3 | Buffalo | Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M

No. 4 | Cincinnati | Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

No. 5 | Arizona | Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

No. 6 | Cleveland | A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

No. 7 | San Francisco | Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

No. 8 | Tennessee | Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

No. 9 | Dallas | Tyron Smith, OT, Southern California

No. 10 | Washington | Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

No. 11 | Houston | Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

No. 12 | Minnesota | Jake Locker, QB, Washington

No. 13 | Detroit | Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

No. 14 | St. Louis | Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

No. 15 | Miami | Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

No. 16 | Jacksonville | Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

Up next is New England at No. 17, with the Patriots having acquired the selection from Oakland. There's bound to be a letdown after Tuesday, but let's keep that to a minimum. We've had unbelievable input and consistency so far. Let's keep it up. Go. Fight. Win.

Have at it . . .

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