Finally, we had a runaway.
If anything defined the first five days of the jaguars.com 2010 reader mock draft, it was that nothing was easy, and little was clear-cut.
Five days featured five different positions selected, and if each day wasn't nail-bitingly close, there was at least a little drama early, some debate over just who should go at the selection and why.
On Day 6, the Cleveland Browns were on the clock.
This one wasn't close, at least not for long, although Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley – probably the most surprising "slider" in the jaguars.com mock -- got a touch of support.
"A.J. Green would certainly be the sexy pick here," Kevin Grab wrote, "Nonetheless, at this point I believe that Nick Fairley would simply be far too much value to pass on. Fairley appears to possess the skills to anchor the interior against the run as well as provide an interior pass rush in the new 4-3 defense under new head coach Pat Shurmur."
North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, widely considered the best available pass rusher after Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson went off the board, also got a few mentions.
Nick "Corny" Corby believed it came down to Quinn and Fairley.
"Between the two, one would have to ask if the superior skill set of Fairley outweighs the premium nature of Quinn&39;s position?" he wrote. "My answer would be no. If Robert Quinn&39;s head is screwed on straight (that seems to be a recurring theme in the top ten picks, doesn&39;t it?), he has the natural talent to be a special pass rusher in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 if the Browns switch back.
"Given the choice between a marquee pass-rusher and a marquee defensive tackle, which player would you give the nod to? Yeah, I&39;d give it to the end as well, if only because his character questions are no more disconcerting than those of the marquee tackle."
But while Corby and a smattering of other readers eliminated Green early, they were a vocal minority on a day when the Georgia wide receiver generally had the look and feel of a consensus selection.
"He is a very talented receiver that will fit with Peyton Hillis and an offensive line that will probably see some additions in the later rounds or even free agency (of course if there is one)," Jack Destar wrote, adding. "This will help the Browns decide for next year on whether or not Colt McCoy is the franchise quarterback that he showed glimpses of last year."
Green, despite the tendency of some on this site – read "the senior writer" – to inexplicably botch what should be an easy name, emerged early in the pre-draft process as the No. 1 wide receiver on the board. A few analysts – not to mention a few readers – believe that status could/should be challenged/taken by Julio Jones of Alabama, but not enough to knock Green out of the No. 6 selection to the Browns.
"Easiest pick of our draft," Larry Zonk wrote. "Value meets need with A.J. Green."
With Green receiving three times as much support as Fairley or Quinn, there was little debate.
"Green is just about as safe a pick in this draft," Teal wrote. "Ask anyone who watches SEC football; he has proven himself on the field since he was a freshman stud. Fairley has red flags for character and potential as a one-year-wonder. Quinn hasn&39;t played a down of football in a whole year, and having a shortened offseason won&39;t help. I&39;d say Fairley (especially if he doesn&39;t land with a tough coach in a tough atmosphere) and Quinn are more likely to be wasted picks than Green, who is almost certain to be a good pro."
So, with the readers speaking rather convincingly, it's Green to the Browns at No. 6, which means the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock now looks 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
That puts San Francisco on the clock at No. 7, a spot where we're almost certain to get a lot of conversation about Auburn quarterback/2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. It's hard to imagine Fairley or Quinn sliding much further, but if Newton goes here, one of those linemen will be available at No. 9 -- an unexpected bargain at that spot.
One thought on the mock thus far is that if there is a red flag area it may be Peterson at No. 2 to Denver. It's not that Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway talked this week about the possibility of selecting a quarterback, it's just that Dareus may be too enticing at too premium a position to bypass at No. 2. Oh, well, one thing about mocks is you can drive yourself crazy doing if-then scenarios. We are where we are and we're moving on.
Have at it.