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Well, at least we had the side of the ball right.

Not that that was a difficult proposition on Day 9 of the 2012 reader mock draft. After all, with the Carolina Panthers on the clock and coming off a season in which its offense improved dramatically, it wasn't hard to predict defense for Carolina.

That, in fact, was a pretty clear consensus.

But when it came time to nailing down just who the Panthers would select, that was a bit more difficult, and while many agreed with us that defensive line made the most sense, our offering of defensive tackle Michael Brockers got comparatively little support.

Mostly, the day was about dancing around the defensive line, and perhaps not unexpectedly, many readers expected the Panthers to partner up with Quinton Coples – one reason being that despite some well-documented issues, the guy did play college ball at North Carolina, after all.

"Quinton Coples gets selected here," James from Jacksonville wrote. "The Panthers are looking to get best player to come out of University of North Carolina since Julius Peppers to help fill the shoes of, well, Julius Peppers.

"Coples is as close to a Peppers clone as possible also standing 6'6 , weighing 285 lbs. and he even wears number 90. The Panthers would have to be blind not to pick."

Blindness aside, there could another reason the Panthers wouldn't pick him, of course, and that's that many scouts question Coples' consistency in college – a topic that led us quite naturally to another player many believed could be coveted by Carolina.

Just as Coples has been downgraded by some draft observers because of questions over college production, the same is true of Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe.

Poe, like Coples, is wildly popular among many draftniks, and while Coples is intriguing because of raw physical ability, Poe has moved up on the intrigue scale because of an eye-catching performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in late February.

Considered a likely late first-round selection before the combine, Poe ran well enough, lifted well enough, shuttled well enough and did whatever else you can do well enough in Indianapolis to move up in the eye of many draftniks.

Certainly, he moved up enough for some readers to like him here in the latter part of the Top 10.

"Dontari Poe," Austin Jarrett wrote, an opinion Jake Mair found insightful enough that around the same time, he, too, uttered: "Dontari Poe."

LakelandJag was a bit more effusive in his Poe support, saying, "I see the Panthers taking Dontari Poe. They were terrible against the run last year. Who better to resolve the problem than who many are dubbing the next Haloti Ngata? Stellar NFL combine pays of for the Mountain from Memphis."

Certainly, some team will take Poe in the first round, but the guess here is that a lot of teams are going to be wary of his lack of production in college – certainly enough so to avoid him in the Top 10.

It was while moving on from Poe that we came across perhaps the most salient point of the day, a point that came from Dutchjagsfan when he said, "In all honousty i find these mock draft posts stupid . . . Mock drafts change every day and to make this such a big deal its stupid. FA changes the draft anyways so after the FA thats when mock drafts make some sort of sense."

Dutchjagsfan continued, "They obviously ran out of stuff to write so they come up with this idea."

Well, yeah, Dutch, of course, it's stupid. "Mock drafts" are in one sense really, really stupid, and I've stated quite often that they're stupid, silly and a little pointless, but Lance Saunders sort of got the point a bit later when he noted, "Ahh, it's fun."

And that, we all must remember, is the point of this whole thing:

Yeah, we all get that the mock draft isn't going to solve our bigger issues, but if by the end of a couple of months we've had a chance to discuss and debate a few ideas about the first round, well, I don't think it's criminal to take a little space on the spacious web to do that.

Appreciating Saunders' support, we moved on, and it quickly became apparent that our offering of Brockers wasn't going to hold up. It was obvious, too, that while Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly got some support, and while South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram did, too, it was going to be really difficult to get the readers off the idea that Coples would be staying home.

"Carolina needs help both against the run (25th), and against the pass (24th)," Tom Landon wrote. "They need to upgrade both, and the player who does that is North Carolina DE Quinton Coples.  He is the most complete D-lineman available, excelling at both run stuffing and getting to the quarterback. 

"He also has the ability to play inside, so he gives the Panthers options along the defensive front."

I remain unconvinced that Coples will go in the Top 10, but the home-state connection got to me enough to where it made sense to go Coples here. So, deciding that, through nine selections the 2012 reader mock looks like:

1.Indianapolis | Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2.Washington | Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

3.Minnesota | Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California

4.Cleveland | Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

5.Tampa Bay | Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State

6.St. Louis | Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

7.Jacksonville | Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

8.Miami | Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

9.Carolina | Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

With that, we move on to the Buffalo Bills. With what they paid for defensive end Mario Williams they darned sure better have their "end need' solved, so we'll offer up offensive tackle Jonathan Martin from Stanford. At least Mario will have someone to practice against.

Have at it.

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