And then there were two.
Actually, at times on Day 28 – Day 28? Already? – of the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft it just seemed as if there were two players left from which to choose.
And say this for the New England Patriots:
When it comes to respect from the readership, the Pats very definitely have it.
The Patriots were on the clock for the second time in a little more than a week with the No. 28 overall selection Wednesday and Thursday. And while the readers were relatively split over just who that selection eventually would be, there was an underlying theme that somehow the Patriots would make the right decision.
Eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons earn that kind of respect, even without a Super Bowl title in six seasons.
"First!" Chad wrote, correctly identifying himself as the first commenter – first! – of Day 28 (Day 28? Already?), adding, "Cameron Heyward will be a beast. New England just sits there and gets a potential seven-to-eight-year Pro Bowler. Unbelievable."
If Heyward indeed becomes a beast, then, yes, New England would have potential to have a great draft, but don&39;t forget a few things.
One is that Heyward isn&39;t in the Pro Bowl just yet.
Another is that the Patriots seem very likely to trade out of this selection, but because this is a no-trade reader mock, a pick had to be made.
Matt seemed to think a selection for Heyward would be as good a choice as any.
"Patriots pick up Cameron Heyward in the hopes he turns into another Richard Seymour," Matt wrote.
The possibility of the Patriots selecting Heyward was a major theme of the day, and that wasn&39;t surprising considering Heyward had been an enticing selection for most of the last week. The same was true of Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, and with the Patriots on the clock, Carimi again drew major support.
"The best offensive lineman available, the Patriots need help along the line, match made in mock draft heaven," Mark Barley wrote.
Jagsinjax4ever took Carimi, but he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do it.
"We all know the Pats are trading out of this pick, but for the sake of this mock we&39;ll give them the BAP, which is Gabe Carimi," he wrote, adding, "He can fill in at tackle or guard and eventually replace Matt Light."
That&39;s how it went most of the day. Carimi or Heyward. Heyward or Carimi.
Not that there weren&39;t smatterings of support elsewhere – and it&39;s not just because the senior likes writing "smatterings."
Brooks Reed, a linebacker from Arizona, got some serious support, and there were plenty who made the point that the aforementioned Heyward would get knocked off the board because the Patriots in the &39;11 reader mock draft already had selected J.J. Watt of Wisconsin earlier in Round 1.
"I don&39;t see Heyward as the pick since they went with J.J. Watt earlier. Doing so would suggest they don&39;t trust their instincts," Fred Barnes wrote.
To be truthful, that was why the senior writer steered away from Heyward when he was offering up selections, but 1ofthemanyjags fans wrote that even with a defensive end already selected, the suddenly hot Reed made sense for New England.
"Brooks Reed is moving up the board fast," he wrote, adding, "Running a 4.65 at the combine did him wonders. I think Pats go defense here and shore up O-line the next 2 picks. I also don&39;t see the best remaining 3-4 NT, Phil Taylor, going at this spot with Vince Wilfork currently at the top of his game.
"Wilfork is starting to get a little older so they may seek his future replacement, but that can wait a year or two, or at least a round or two later, as Wilfork won&39;t even turn 30 until November. Taylor would either have to play out of position or ride the bench for a couple years.
"This just screams need meets BAP."
To 1ofthemanyjags fans, that meant Carimi, and in the end, there wasn&39;t a whole lot of difference between Heyward and Carimi. The senior writer opted to go with Heyward for the admittedly sorry reason that if the Patriots do stay in this pick it&39;s not beyond Bill Belichick to do something unconventional such as taking two defensive ends in the first round.
It&39;s not a terrific reason, and the senior writer tends to agree that there&39;s a pretty good chance the Patriots will move out of this pick. But remember: no trades in the mock, so with the No. 28 selection in the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock the Patriots select Heyward.
And for better or worse, the board 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
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
No. 17 | New England | J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
No. 18 | San Diego | Cameron Jordan, DE, California
No. 19 | New York Giants | Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
No. 20 | Tampa Bay | Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
No. 21 | Kansas City | Adrian Clayborn, OLB, Iowa
No. 22 | Indianapolis | Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
No. 23 | Philadelphia | Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
No. 24 | New Orleans | Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
No. 25 | Seattle | Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
No. 26 | Baltimore | Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
No. 27 | Atlanta | Justin Houston, LB, Georgia
No. 28 | New England | Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
That moves us to No.29 and the Chicago Bears. We&39;ll throw out Carimi here, and while the skies may open and rain evil red men and Buick-sized hail if he doesn&39;t get the nod, we&39;ll see.
Have at it . . .