Now, the end is near.
What that means in the context of the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft is that – because we've come up suddenly on Day 27 -- a lot of players we've been discussing as potential first-round selections must come off the board soon lest that potential turn into disappointment.
"Disappointment" being a relative term.
This is, after all, a reader mock; perspective must be maintained.
But whether they truly will be hurt in any way by their status in our little corner of the draft universe, within the context of the jaguars.com reader mock there is a handful of players who have been bandied about in recent days.
Justin Houston. Phil Taylor. Gabe Carimi.
All are considered potential first-round selections, and many have had big-time support in recent days.
Unsurprisingly, with the Atlanta Falcons on the clock at No. 27, it was around that group that the conversation focused on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
But not before a familiar topic became a bit more familiar.
"Is there any way that in this mock draft a team can trade down?" JaguarsGator9 write, adding, "I&39;m not trying to be silly, I&39;m saying that the Falcons need a WR to complement Roddy White . . ."
Followers of the '11 mock know this has been an oft-discussed topic. This is the case in most mock drafts, particularly late in the round. Choices become difficult and it becomes logical to think a team would love to add extra selections.
The problem in reality is a team can't always find a trading partner; the problem in mocks is there's no real way to "mock" a trade, so we don't allow it. Life's full of flaws and inconveniences. That's the flaw and inconvenience of the '11 reader mock – one of them, anyway.
When it came time to grind through to the actual selection for the Falcons, familiar names abounded, as did one relatively new one:
Kyle Rudolph, a tight end from Notre Dame, hadn't gotten much mention in the mock draft to date, but with Falcons Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez likely nearing the end of his career, the mockers gave him serious consideration.
"I think it is time to get a replacement for a Pro Bowl tight end," 1ofthemanyjfans wrote, adding, "My pick is Kyle Rudolph. Gonzo is probably in his last year before retirement. Even if he&39;s not, I think Atlanta could use the help there and they have gotten used to having a good TE."
That got support, but not as much as Cameron Heyward, a defensive end from Ohio State and a player the readers have increasingly supported in recent days.
"The Falcons take the Cam -- enough said," Matt Hoffman wrote, but evidently that wasn't enough, because Ryan Nearhood wrote, "Cameron Heyward. He is by far a better athlete than Justin Houston. The health concerns were from his arm which is 100 percent healed. If Cameron slips this far he would be a perfect fit for the Falcons. He&39;s a type of player the Falcons like and tend to go after in the draft, and would be a great addition to their somewhat struggling defense."
Unfortunately for Heyward, his support wasn't overwhelming – and didn't quite match that given to Justin Houston, a linebacker from Georgia whose support had grown in recent days.
"Justin Houston lives the dream," Michael Morgan wrote, adding, "Born in Georgia, plays for UGA, and then moves up to play for the pro team in his home state. Falcons draft for need and this would clearly fit one of them. He plays LB at the moment but can easily fit as a DE opposite (John) Abraham."
Morgan went on to discuss Houston's fit with Atlanta, but the senior writer had heard enough, and thus with the No. 27 selection in the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft the Falcons select Houston. That makes the board look like:
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
No. 24 | New Orleans | Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
No. 25 | Seattle | Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
No. 26 | Baltimore | Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
No. 27 | Atlanta | Justin Houston, LB, Georgia
That brings us to the New England Patriots, selecting at No. 28. The Patriots could trade out of this slot, a maneuver that is permissible in real life but alas, not on jaguars.com. We'll undoubtedly hear much about that, but in lieu of a trade, the senior writer will offer Carimi, offensive tackle from Wisconsin. The Pats may or may not pick him, but they may or may not be here anyway, so if No. 27 was tough, this one's brutal.
Have at it.