No trade here

20120314-blackmon.jpg

On this day, we're sticking by the rules.

Because of that, the thing that many readers seem to want to happen the most in the 2012 NFL Draft – and perhaps the thing that really will happen come April 26 – won't happen during the 2012 jaguars.com reader mock draft:

The Jaguars won't be trading down.

The reason for that is simple, and that's that if you allow uncertain trades in mock drafts you never stop trading and by the time you're done you have a mock draft that's unrecognizable when trying to ascertain what really might happen on draft night.

So, as we arrived Tuesday in the mock draft at the Jaguars' selection at No. 7, that's where we are – a no-trade zone. Not in this mock, anyway.

Not that that stopped the readers from discussing the possibility, and there was as much talk of a potential trade as for the player we offered up as the Jaguars' potential selection – wide receiver Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State.

"The Jaguars will try to trade back, but barring any takers, they have to go with the top person on their board, who will be David DeCastro from Stanford," Tom_Landon wrote. "You have to get the big guys early- and DeCastro is a beast.  Guard isn't a big team need, and you would ideally want a tackle picking this high, but the draft is all about upgrading talent and finding value.

"DeCastro is the last 'no-risk' player available."

Landon may be right about DeCastro, and there's little doubt he will be intriguing if he's on the board at No. 7. But there's also a limit to just how early you select a guard. So, while DeCastro also received mention from others, we moved on to the thoughts of reader Eric Thurman, who initially endeared himself to those running this mock draft – i.e., me – by agreeing with the Jaguars' selection in the jaguars.com mock draft v. 1.0.

A couple of weeks back, I mocked Whitney Mercilus of Illinois to the Jaguars at No. 7 on the belief that by the time the draft rolled around he might be the best pass rusher available.

Thurman agreed.

"I think the days of getting the big guys are over," Thurman wrote. "Most teams grab skilled players early now. It's just the way the NFL is these days. I'll include LT and DE's in there as skilled players. We're going away from a run-heavy league and that drops the big guys' value and boosts the skilled players' value.

"Jaguars grab Whitney Mercilus, DE out of Illinois. He is compared to JPP (Jason Pierre Paul of the New York Giants) in so many ways, even with both being one-year wonders, but Mercilus did it in a bigger better conference."

I basked in Thurman's glow only briefly, and noticed later he said of the 2012 reader mock, "This mock draft is no different than a popularity contest."

Hurt, I considered limping away quietly. Instead, I resolved to continue weeding through the debate, and while the readers spent a big part of the late afternoon hand-wringing over free agents, they also got down to some pretty serious analyzing of the Jaguars' potential selection.

"Maybe I'm a little biased because I am a South Carolina fan, but Melvin Ingram is absolutely the right pick," Evan Milligan wrote of the South Carolina defensive end. "The man is a beast. He dominated offensive lines in the SEC. Justin Blackmon is a product of a pass happy league. Blackmon did not face one elite defense all year. Melvin Ingram is the right pick. Blackmon will probably get the pick, but it should be Ingram."

Perhaps because of the free-agency hand-wringing – or perhaps because the off-season talk around the Jaguars has pretty much been all-receiver-all-the-time – the readers eventually settled on receiver as the position of choice. Not that Blackmon got the automatic nod.

"If I were a stat junkie then stats suggest Blackmon is the man," Brian L. Jones wrote, and being the astute reader I am I braced for it . . . .

"However, I feel Michael Floyd is the more rounded receiver," Jones wrote, adding, "Great routes, dynamite off the line and willingness to block. I love his height and potential at the next level. The Jags will take Floyd over Blackmon at No. 7."

Floyd, as has been the case in recent weeks, got more than a little conversation as the alternative to Blackmon at No. 7, and there are legitimate reasons. He has NFL speed and there are those observers who consider him very close to Blackmon, perhaps even superior.

But while Blackmon has been picked apart and scrutinized in the weeks leading to the draft – and while there are legitimate questions about him at No. 7 – he's also in no way a bad player, and in the end, there was a pretty strong consensus among the readers that Blackmon would be the selection.

"Trading down would make sense, but Blackmon sure is a sexy selection," Jimmy wrote. "Let's roll the dice on a 1st round WR again."

Added eastcoastballers, "Have to take Blackmon at 7 if he is there, as much as many like to criticize him (Eric) he is simply a playmaker, and that is something the Jaguars simply lack."

I admit to worrying a bit about Eric, too, but since we're not allowing a trade here, and since it was a pretty clear majority, we're going to stick with Blackmon.

Apologies, Eric. We can get together and talk Mercilus later, but with Blackmon at No. 7 to the Jaguars, the first seven selections of the 2012 jaguars.com reader mock draft 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

That brings us to No. 8 and Miami. We'll offer up Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M to the Dolphins here, because so far, they don't have a quarterback and if you don't have a quarterback, Tannehill here makes a lot of sense. We'll see if anyone agrees. Have at it.

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