At last, we make the final turn home.
With that being true, with the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft now less than 10 selections from its finish, it was perhaps fitting that Day 23 had a somewhat hard-to-predict feel.
That, after all, is what the final third of a first-round mock is all about.
The Top 10, with its well-document players – guys perceived, by the pundits at least, as "can't miss" – is long since over, and most of the guys who were being discussed as Top 10 possibilities are also gone.
The teams in the bottom third, by definition, are better. Their needs are less obvious.
So, with the Philadelphia Eagles – a playoff team and a perennial contender – on the clock at No. 23, it was no wonder that there was little agreement, and perhaps more players suggested than for any of the previous 22 selections.
It was that sort of day -- no consensus, and no real focus on an area.
Cornerback? Offensive line? Quarterback?
All were mentioned as possibilities for the Eagles, and it was a day disjointed enough that the senior writer's use of the term "senior writer" found its way to the forefront of the conversation for a short time.
"Why exactly does the senior writer speak in third person, it&39;s crazy . . ." Anthony wrote.
(Because Joshua Terrell wrote that he was tired of it, too, let the senior writer offer this explanation: When writing the O-Zone elsewhere on jaguars.com, he uses the first-person freely, but likely won't do so much on the rest of the site except in the case of an editorial. The use of third-person in the mock draft is to keep it differentiated from the O-Zone and to keep the site from being too much "I, I, I" although, frankly, the senior writer is a bit worn out on the whole device as well).
A couple of readers took the time to thank said senior writer for the mock draft, but no thanks were necessary. Just doing the job.
Not that Thursday was an easy day to do it. Not with the wide range of suggestions for the Eagles' selection – and yes, we'll finally get to that now.
The senior writer (sorry, Anthony) offered up cornerback Jimmy Smith as a possibility to the Eagles, with one reason being the Eagles have had success with first-round cornerbacks and seemed to like players of his type.
That got quite a bit of support, somewhat surprising on a day when there was no real consensus among the readers about what the Eagles actually needed.
"I&39;m going to say Jimmy Smith as well," wrote J-School Corby, who has been quoted enough in the '11 reader mock to request compensation he undoubtedly won't receive. "The Eagles have a definite problem in the secondary, where Asante Samuel is great, but Ellis Hobbs is a serious injury waiting to happen (if he plays again at all), Dimitri Patterson is best-suited for the nickel, and there&39;s a lack of youth behind the top three. Drafting an offensive tackle in the first round would be akin to giving up on Winston Justice, and I don&39;t think the Eagles are to that point yet. While Gabe Carimi would definitely draw Andy Reid&39;s attention, I think they&39;ll opt for the superior athlete with Jimmy Smith."
Corby noted not without merit that it still just felt strange to be saying Jimmy Smith on the Jaguars' web site and not be referring to THAT Jimmy Smith, but familiar name or not, there was nothing close to unanimous agreement with this year's Smith's selection to the Eagles.
"The Eagles will pick Brandon Harris, CB, Miami," Michael Grose wrote, adding, "He is a very fluid athlete that does not come with character concerns. Jimmy Smith has been reportedly taken off some team&39;s boards, and I would not be surprised if he falls out of round one."
That was indicative of Day 23. For every reader that liked Smith and cornerback at the spot, another liked Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin and offensive tackle. Those two received the most support, and nose tackle Phil Taylor of Baylor and defensive end Cameron Heyward of Ohio State continued to get mentions, too.
Others? Quarterback Andy Dalton of Texas Christian, defensive tackle Corey Liuget of Illinois, outside linebacker Brooks Reed of Arizona . . .
Basically, if you'd been mentioned once in the reader mock you were getting mentioned on Day 23, with perhaps the most intriguing idea coming when there was a tiny groundswell for Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.
In the end, the senior writer went with Jimmy Smith . . . because, well, because that was who he offered up and there was no overly compelling reason to not stick with it. So, at No. 23, it's Smith to the Eagles, which makes the board look 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
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
That brings us to the New Orleans Saints at No. 24. The senior writer will look forward to returning to the O-Zone and the first person, and while he's doing that, he'll offer up UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers. Feels like the right time for him.
Have at it.