JACKSONVILLE – The debate wasn't quite "chicken or egg," but it was something like football's offensive equivalent.
Offensive football, certainly.
The quandary of whether to draft a quarterback or a player to protect the quarterback got plenty of play on Day 4 of the jaguars.com 2013 mock draft, with readers pretty much split on the issue as they debated the draft direction of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Would it be quarterback? Or left tackle?
Would it be Geno Smith, the quarterback from West Virginia and the player offered up by the senior writer at this spot?
Or would it be Eric Fisher, the left tackle from Central Michigan?
After left tackle Luke Joeckel (Kansas City), defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan (Jacksonville) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Oakland) went off the board at Picks 1-3 last week, that was the central question on Day 4.
Not that they were the only players considered.
Indeed, with the Jaguars' selection a couple of days in the rearview, there were several players kicked around at this spot, with "kicked around" being a fitting description as several readers appeared to grow a bit irritated with the process.
"So, everybody is gonna pick who the media has already mocked?" Draft Expert Lance wrote. "Why even do this then? You can't even think outside of the box."
Lance did more than express irritation. He did his part to push the draft in a different direction, suggesting Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei at No. 4 to the Eagles – a good selection, but alas, one that received little support. (Maybe a little too far outside said "box").
Other readers still bemoaned the Jaguars' selection at No. 2, believing the reader mock had erred in its selection of Jordan and continuing to laud the talents of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, who is certain to go soon in this draft but who as of Day 4 remains on the board.
There also was more than a bit of anger remaining over the reader mock not selecting Fisher to the Jaguars at No. 2.
"Shame, shame on the Jaguars and Raiders for passing him up," Shawn Clement wrote.
In the end, though, Day 4 was about neither shame, nor Fisher, but about deciding on a player for the Eagles. There was sentiment for not only Lotulelei, but Brigham Young defensive end Ziggy Ansah and even for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who received one vote from T.J. Shannon as the last piece of the "dream team" puzzle.
If Shannon's support for Te'o was sarcastic, the support for Smith was not, and there were many readers who believed he was the right choice to replace Michael Vick at quarterback for the Eagles.
"I think this will be the first 'surprise,' " Chad Koon wrote in support of Smith, adding, "quarterbacks always fly up draft boards and teams always choose them higher than where they should go. This year will be no different and it will continue in the coming picks."
Mike Eeles agreed.
"Owners don't go to Pro Days often, but the Eagles' owner went to Geno's," Eeles wrote, noting Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie's attendance at West Virginia's recent Pro Day.
Those are good thoughts, and it wouldn't be a shock to see Smith to Philadelphia come late April. But on this day, in this reader mock, the majority chose to see Lurie's presence as smoke screen, instead believing the Eagles will choose to protect the passer rather than select one. That meant that Fisher, a player some believe could go No. 1 overall, instead goes off this board three spots later.
"Eric Fisher to protect the quarterback," Brandon Jensen wrote. "With better line play maybe Vick won't have to run for his life so much."
Tyler Ryan put it more succinctly.
"Eric Fisher is the pick," he wrote.
And indeed he is, which means after four selections the 2013 jaguars.com reader mock looks like:
1.Kansas City | Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
2.Jacksonville | Dion Jordan, DE/LB, Oregon
3.Oakland | Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
4.Philadelphia | Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
That brings us to the Detroit Lions at No. 5. There are plenty of readers who seem convinced Ansah, a player projected in some mocks to go as high as No. 2 to the Jaguars, is certain to come off the board here. There are reports that the Lions like him a lot, which could mean a little or could mean a lot.
But within our little corner of the mock universe, it will probably mean a lot of debate and maybe even a little more shame. We'll see.
Have at it.