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Picking up steam


The time has come for picking up the pace.

The argument could be made that that time has long since passed in this mock, but it's Masters Friday, and while that means less to me than it does to some, it's a far too pleasant sunny Florida afternoon to argue.

This is all a long-winded way of saying we're going to start doubling and maybe tripling up on the 2012 reader mock draft in the coming days. Not only are we a touch behind schedule, I'd like to clear the decks for some more Jaguars-specific stuff in the final two weeks leading to the April 26-28 NFL Draft.

The cynical among you will say I'm just lazy.

Credit to the cynical, but what it all means is after we get through today's selection for the Chicago Bears at No. 19, we're going to ask the readers to make not one, not two but three selections for an entry that will run Monday.

That will get us back on track, and we'll double up a few times more as we go along.

That's enough intro, so without delaying further, the readers/mockers may recall that for the Bears we offered up Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus.

Mercilus, the astute reader of this site will remember, is the player mocked to the Jaguars at No. 7 in version 1.0 of the mock draft – a different, one-day, all-moderator, all-the-time mock than this reader-driven project. While everyone is pretty much in agreement that Mercilus in the Top 10 would be a surprise, he may be the draft's best pure edge pass rusher and as such almost certainly will be selected in the first round.

"Mercilus just makes too much sense to pass up here," Matt wrote. "I think the Bears made it clear that they want another good end, and Mercilus, (Courtney) Upshaw (of Alabama) and (Nick) Perry (of Southern Cal) are all still available.  They go with Mercilus over the other two to please the fans...keep him in Illinois."

While Matt endeared himself to the moderator, it became apparent quickly that this view was not unanimous.

J-School Corby took a gamble that the defensive slant might be good news for Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kueckly, a popular player in this mock who has yet to be popular enough to actually be mocked.

Corby correctly noted the obvious presence of Brian Urlacher in the middle for the Bears and equally correctly noted Urlacher's age – 34 – as a reason Kuechly actually makes sense.

"(Bears Head Coach) Lovie Smith is facing a season in which he has to come up big," Corby wrote. "For that reason, I wholly expect he'll be pushing for a defensive tackle. Thing is, Smith's not making the picks. Rookie GM Phil Emery is, and he'll probably do so with an eye towards ensuring he has a good team three years from now, not towards plugging holes this season with players who aren't at the same level as those left on the board. Luke Kuechly to the Bears."

Good thoughts – just not enough to sway the selection in Kuechly's direction, not on a day on which too many other arguments made too much sense.

One such argument was Alabama safety Mark Barron to the Bears. Gary Cislo and Brian L. Jones each spoke highly of that direction, but even considering the shallow nature of this year's safety pool, that just seemed too high on a day when one player in particular picked up a lot of steam as practically a write-in candidate.

Remember how a lot of readers were thinking defense for the Bears?

There were a few wise exceptions – those that realized Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been under an intense rush for just about as long as anyone can remember. Because of that, a few readers offered up left tackle Mike Adams of Ohio State here.

"The Bears brass are going to feel Jay's pain and I think it's Mike Adams Ohio State to 'Da Bears' No. 19," Jones wrote as he approached something that suddenly felt a lot like wavering considering his previous support of Barron.

The Bears probably do feel Cutler's pain, but in the end, the readers and the moderator seemed to agree that Mercilus here will just be too tempting for the Bears to pass.

"I'll say Mercilus," Jackson Hart wrote.

So will we, which means after 19 selections the 2012 reader mock 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

8.Miami | Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

9.Carolina | Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

10.Buffalo | David DeCastro, G, Stanford

11.Kansas City | Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

12.Seattle | Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

13.Arizona | Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

14.Dallas | Janoris Jenkins,  CB, North Alabama

15.Philadelphia | Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

16.New York Jets | Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

17.Cincinnati | Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

18.San Diego | Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia

19.Chicago | Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Picking up the pace is the theme of the day, so we'll do the same to close. We'll go with Kuechly to the Tennessee Titans at No. 20 because he makes a whole lot of sense there, running back Lamar Miller of Miami because I saw a mock draft that had him there and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill to Cleveland at No. 22 because it's time to start talking about Stephen Hill.

Three selections -- that's a lot of homework for the weekend, I know. Stop groaning. We have to pick up the pace sometime. Have at it.

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