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Landslide . . .


This one was over almost before it started.

Avid followers of the 2011 reader mock draft – he knows who he is – will remember fondly Day 5 of the draft, which we remember as the first easy day of this year's process. We spoke that day of the one-sided nature of the day's comments, the ease of selection.

That was nothing compared to Day 8.

And once again, the suggestion offered by the senior writer registered nary a ripple when the readers started voicing their opinions.

Cam Newton? The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner?

With the Tennessee Titans on the clock with the No. 8 overall selection, that was who the senior writer suggested, figuring with Vince Young no longer with the franchise the dynamic quarterback from Auburn University could be a logical choice.

A few readers agreed. Just not many.

"There are issues with all of the quarterbacks in the draft, but Newton has something the others don&39;t: SPEED," HawaiiJag wrote, adding, "The Titans know that whoever they select as a quarterback this year will need development, but with Newton&39;s SPEED he can be placed in and hopefully change game plans to an extent."

HawaiiJag's capitalized emphasis on SPEED notwithstanding, Newton received minimal support, and the same was true of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

"They are not taking another Vince Young so the pick here is Mallet because they need a new 'Trigger Man' and he's got the strongest arm in the draft," Bran Ramsby wrote supporting Mallett.

Prince Amukamara, who very nearly was the No. 7 selection to San Francisco, received some mention to the Titans, but from early on, it was apparent that the story of the day would be the end of the most prominent 2011 mock draft slide.

That meant the selection, at last, of Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley.

"The Titans will take Fairley," Tony Allen Faircloth wrote, adding, "They will move so fast with the pick that the Commissioner will not have sat down before he has the pick in his hand and is calling the pick. I think that he will be a steal at No. 8 for the Titans if he falls to them here, and it will not be good for the Jaguars to have to face him twice a year, either."

Fairley, projected by some observers as a Top 1-to-3 selection shortly after Auburn's national-title season, has been the subject of much pre-draft speculation. A lot of that speculation had Fairley sliding after the combine, and while he still is projected by some as a possible Top-5 selection, he had been bypassed by readers.

There was no bypassing on Day 8, a day Fairley had more than triple the support of Newton, his college teammate and nearest Day 8 competitor.

"You&39;ve got to pull the trigger on Fairley," Josiah wrote, adding, "Just to see him fall into Tennessee&39;s lap is unbelievable. He is the BAP here. You can&39;t get enough big guys and the Titans' defensive line has the potential to go over the top again.

"You gotta get 'em fast and you gotta get 'em early. After what happened with Vince Young there is no way the Titans go after a running quarterback."

That was pretty much the reader consensus – that while the Titans might have liked a quarterback, the safer choice was Fairley.

"Titans need to find a new, young franchise quarterback to build around," jagsfan22 wrote, adding, "Unfortunately no quarterback fits at their pick – not even Newton. They will not take Newton because of the issues they just had with Young. They don&39;t want to have a repeat of that.

"Fairley has to be the pick. He has slid so much in this mock draft that the Titans cannot pass this opportunity up. . . . Fairley would be an ideal fit in Tennessee, where the Titans certainly have some solid players inside but lack the type of impact presence that Albert Haynesworth once provided."

Conor Ballantyne did offer a strong dissenting view, mentioning that the presence of Fairley's collegiate position coach – Tracy Rocker – with the Titans could actually hurt Fairley's chances of being selected here.

"The pick that makes the most sense here (in our scenario) is Fairley," Ballantyne wrote, adding, "They have more information on him than any other team, but . . . Rocker will not only know Fairley&39;s upside, but also his downsides. It all seems to depend on Rocker&39;s evaluation and it should send Tennessee towards Fairley, but, as has been the theme in our draft, that may not be the pick. With a so-so evaluation of Fairley and their defense a lowly 29th in the league last year against the pass, I think Tennessee will instead address the secondary and select Prince Amukamara."

Still, with the No. 8 selection in the 2011 reader mock draft, the overwhelming choice is Fairley, which means the board now looks like this:

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

Up next is Dallas, at No. 9. The senior writer has thrown Newton into the mix so much as a possibility he may be sore by now, so we'll switch gears and offer up Amukamara. The senior writer isn't expecting a whole lot of dissension, but who knows.

Have at it. 

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