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Reader mock No. 7: Quarterback or tackle?


JACKSONVILLE – If it seems like this day's pre-draft debate is eerily familiar, it's because . . . because . . .

Because, well, it is eerily familiar.

Remember? Earlier in the 2013 mock draft we spent a day debating the merits of drafting a left tackle versus drafting a quarterback? Well, Day 7 featured the same debate, which is the thing about the NFL:

A lot of questions are good enough and unanswerable enough they keep getting asked.

So it was that on Day 7, the reader mockers moved beyond their daily criticisms of the senior writer – well, for a day at least – and focused instead on the idea of whether or not Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson or West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith made more sense to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 7 overall.

What's that? Smith? To the Cardinals?

Didn't Arizona just acquire veteran and former Pro Bowl selection Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders? Indeed the Cardinals did, but to many reader mockers that just made the idea of Smith – generally considered the draft's top overall quarterback – here more intriguing.

A quarterback is a quarterback, the theory went.

And Smith is the best one this year, further went the theory.

Following that reasoning Smith must go somewhere in the Top 10. It is, after all, the nature of the modern NFL. So, even though the senior writer had followed his successful selection of Ziggy Ansah to the Browns with an offering of Johnson to the Cardinals – many readers believed that the lure of the quarterback just might prove too strong for the Cardinals.

Yes, even considering Palmer into the equation.

"I see Geno Smith, since Carson Palmer is NOT the answer to the franchise QB question," Bubba McMillin wrote. "Can someone give me a good reason for NOT picking Geno Smith here?"

This being the reader mock, the answer was a resounding, "Yes."

"Geno Smith is not the answer...without offensive line help nothing will change," Ray Long wrote.

PhaZe10 followed the norm for this year's reader mock of not acknowledging previous selections, clinging to a delusional alternative reality and saying, "We will take GENO at #2 so it doesn't matter!" Unfortunately for PhaZe10, within the context of this mock draft defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan of Oregon is gone to the Jaguars, and Smith in fact remains on the board.

And at least one reader thought that only too proper.

"I'm saying Geno Smith is a bad pick," Brandon Jensen wrote. "I wouldn't even think about drafting a QB till Round 2 at the earliest."

Round 2 is a place usually reserved for guards, and speaking of guards, that was the position that gave Smith and Johnson the most competition on this day.

Chance Warmack, a guard from Alabama, been mentioned by some national analysts as a Top 5 possibility, and while it seems unlikely he will go that high on draft day, many mock readers believe it's getting to be time to consider Warmack in this mock.

"I considered him at No. 5, I voted for him at No. 6 and he still gets my vote here at No. 7," Brian L. Jones wrote. "Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama."

Jones wasn't alone, but he and his guy, Warmack, didn't have quite enough support, and the same was true of Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin – good players, yes, and likely to be gone soon. Just not on Day 7.

That's because while Day 7 wasn't about Warmack, it was indeed about an offensive lineman, with the majority of readers generally agreeing that in this case, protecting a veteran quarterback will take precedent over getting a young quarterback.

"I say protection for Palmer makes sense," 1SAVJAG27 wrote. "Lane Johnson!"

Matt B wasn't nearly as excitable! But he agreed, saying, "Lane Johnson sounds like a pretty logical choice for the Cardinals."

And while Austin Jarrett didn't appear to be completely anti-Smith, he, too, saw the point of protection for the passer.

"I'm not saying Geno is a bad pick here, but Johnson certainly isn't either," Jarrett wrote. "LT can be viewed as a need for the Cardinals and has been for a while and Johnson is one of the best athletes the position has ever seen."

That athleticism in this case is enough to give our reader mock a third left tackle in seven selections, which makes the 2013 reader mock look 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

5.Detroit | Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

6.Cleveland | Ziggy Ansah, DE, Brigham Young

7.Arizona | Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

That brings us to the Buffalo Bills at No. 8. We're going to offer up Geno Smith as a possibility, even though the senior writer sort of thinks Ryan Nassib of Syracuse to the Bills makes more sense. Why offer Smith, then? People love talking quarterbacks. Besides, the senior writer has gotten it right two consecutive days. A run of three consecutive days just wouldn't seem right somehow.

Have at it.

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