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Here at last


We made it.

And when discussing the 2011 reader mock draft that comes to an end today with the 32ndand final selection of the first round, make no mistake.

This was very much a "we" effort.

The readers got us through this thing.

There was debate. There were jokes, and while we lost a reader or two along the way disgusted with certain aspects of the process, by the end it seemed the readers and the senior writer had learned a lot and had a much better feel for the 2011 NFL Draft.

That, after all, was the point.

We won't get too sappy or emotional over the end of this thing – it was, after all, just a reader mock draft – but it will be a little odd next week not to be reporting the feedback and speculation of J-School and Kevin Grab and JaguarsGator9 and the gang.

But it's not quite time to wrap this thing up.

There is still the matter of the Green Bay Packers, who were on the clock Tuesday and Wednesday with the No. 32 overall selection.

The senior writer had offered up Mississippi State left tackle Derek Sherrod, and because it had been pretty hit-and-miss as to just how those offerings had been received, there was little reason to think Sherrod would necessarily end up being the selection.

In keeping with tradition, the debate was relatively intense.

Another tradition:

Akeem Ayers of UCLA got a whole lot of support.

"Akeem Ayers," J-Mart Burkland wrote, adding, "Sure, Frank Zombo was solid last season but he definitely needs to be upgraded and since Ayers has been BAP for AT LEAST the last 5 picks if not 10 he goes to Green Bay."

Corey Pittman was more succinct.

"Ayers falling this far is insane," he wrote, adding, "He goes here."

That has been a school of thought about Ayers in recent selections, and the truth is, the senior writer's bias against first-round linebackers may well be one of the reasons he has slid so far in the '11 reader mock. If Ayers is indeed taken in the first round, he may well laugh at the senior writer, but the guess is he'll be so happy with his forthcoming wealth he won't give the matter much thought.

That said, Ayers indeed slipped out of the first round of the reader mock, and on the final day, it wasn't the senior writer's fault. It was just that the readership was pretty much torn between Sherrod and Arizona linebacker Brooks Reed.

"I think Sherrod makes sense," wrote, adding, "However, I get the feeling that Brooks Reed goes in the first round."

Support for Reed was solid on Day 32.

"Brooks Reed is the pick," Joe Gear wrote, adding, "He can be hidden his first year in the 3-4 defense, and I think the Packers are realizing that (A.J.) Hawk is not the long-term answer at one of those ILB spots. This team is really built for the long haul other than that."

In the end, though, there was just a bit more support on Day 32 for Sherrod.

"The pick is Sherrod," David Kaplan wrote, and Larry Zonk added:

"In 50 hours, 14 minutes, and 31 seconds, the Packers end the first round of the 2011 NFL draft by selecting . . . Derek Sherrod."

That felt like as good a way to wrap up Day 32 as any, what with Zonk being a one of the more reliable contributors and what with the senior writer having offered Sherrod in the first place. So, with the No. 32 selection in the reader mock draft, the Packers select Sherrod, which makes the final board 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

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

No. 29 | Chicago | Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

No. 30 | New York Jets | Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

No. 31 | Pittsburgh | Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

No. 32 | Green Bay | Derek Sherrod, OL, Mississippi State

That brings us to . . . well, it brings us to the end. No more offering up, and no more coming up with an ender line to get us to the next day. No more "have at it," just an end to a long process and a thank you.

Take care. We'll see you on draft day. 

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