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Now, this was more like it.

A day after the first real easy day in the 2011 reader mock draft, a day in which we had the closest thing yet to a consensus selection, we were back to our normal routine with the San Francisco 49ers on the clock at No. 7.

The normal routine has been relatively tight choices, and quite a bit of uncertainty.

On Day 7 we were close to chaos at times.

And once again, the readers not only surprised the senior writer, they took his suggestion for the selection and shot it quickly out of the sky.

That means once again Auburn quarterback Cam Newton dropped at least another spot.

On that note, readers apparently don't think much of Auburn – or at least they don't think the team's two superstars much fit with the top teams in the NFL Draft this off-season. Because Tigers defensive tackle Nick Fairley also took another slide Wednesday.

And really, Newton and Fairley weren't even in the conversation all that much, though Fairley did get some mention early as a possibility to the 49ers.

"The 49ers pick is Fairley," jagsfan22 wrote, adding, "Newton is still a work in progress as a passer and there are some off-the-field issues. His rare physical tools and potential might entice them to pick him, but I don&39;t think he fits with them. Fairley may not fill the biggest need but he is a beast in the middle . . .

"I think that he is a good playmaker and at seven I think he is a steal with this pick. Fairley has concerns of being a one-year wonder, but the way he dominated the national title game, the risk is worth it for this pick."

Newton got a touch of support early and late.

"Gotta have a triggerman – not having one cost the last two coaches their jobs," Ruben Carela wrote, adding, "The pick is Cam Newton."

Most readers, though, seemed to believe that new San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't be enamored of Newton, at least not enough to overlook the team's perceived needs on defense.

That meant the decision quickly came down to North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn or Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, with Quinn getting a ton of support early.

"As much as the Niners need a quarterback, I&39;m hoping Harbaugh and Co. are smart enough to see through the Cam Newton hype," jagsinjax4ever wrote, adding, "Fairley or Quinn are valid choices here, simply for value reasons, but I don&39;t know how well Fairley projects as a 3-4 defensive end. I&39;d say the Niners go with a pass rusher to put next to one of the best LBs maybe of this generation in Patrick Willis, so Quinn is the pick here. Manny Lawson has been underwhelming and, as we all know, those 3-4 teams can never seem to have enough defensive ends/linebackers."

That was the trend early, but Amukamara received a late surge.

"At a glance, the 49ers offense is worse off than the defense," Michael wrote, adding, "They could use some help on the offensive line and need a franchise quarterback. But, none of the top tackles are commonly ranked this high and both (Jake) Locker and Newton are risky at this spot. They were also ranked 24th against the pass last year. While their corners aren&39;t terrible, they could definitely use a high quality corner and Prince is widely regarded as a top 10 talent. So: Prince Amukamara to the 49ers."

As impressive as Amukamara's late run may have been, there was more support for Quinn overall, and "J-School" Corby may have had it right when he noted that the 49ers typically try to draft best available player when they have an early selection.

"My choice for the 49ers is Robert Quinn," "J-School" wrote. "He&39;s the best available player at this point in the draft, and that&39;s the direction the 49ers have consistently gone with their top-ten picks."

With that, Quinn barely hung on to the No. 7 spot, which means the 2011 reader mock draft 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

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

Next up is Tennessee at No. 8, and we'll throw out Newton again. Not because the senior writer any longer has much hope of the readers agreeing with his selections, but because the Titans have a need at quarterback, and mentioning Newton always gets good reaction.

Fairley makes some sense here, too. Tennessee's new defensive line coach, Tracy Rocker, coached Fairley at Auburn.

So far, there are a lot of good selections and some good debate with the reader mock draft. We're probably not perfect, but perfection's unreachable with any mock draft, particularly this one. What we have done is get a pretty good handle on what teams might be thinking and how some of the decisions might play out, and that's a pretty good accomplishment with the draft still more than a month out.

Enough of that. Have at it. 

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