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The intrigue approaches


The clock ticks, and so we wait.

It's the day of the NFL Draft, and because the event is now firmly entrenched in prime time, draft day has taken on the feel of a night game, when you spend the morning and afternoon with a whole lot of hours to fill.

If you were at home, I'd tell you to do what players do on road Monday Night games. Take in a movie. Grab a nap. Anything to fill the time.

Since statistics show that if you're reading us, you're probably at work, NO NAPPING! Instead, we'll offer this post because we know the wait is interminable, and even though the Jaguars are hours from being on the clock, we know your internal draft clock is ticking.

What will the Jaguars do?

You want the truth? While Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith has a detailed, rational plan that long since has been in place, even he doesn't know what the Jaguars will do yet. There are too many scenarios for even Smith or Jaguars Owner Shad Khan to know exactly what the night will bring.

That's the intrigue of the draft.

I've heard commentators and cynics who marvel at the draft's popularity, who wonder how people watch hour after hour through a three-day weekend.

The easy answer? It's FUN. And fun is good. Another reason: hope. On draft day, the players are always young; their future, always bright. But the biggest reason the draft intrigues us is the unknown. We love drama, and through the first round at the very least the draft never lacks for that.

That's particularly true for the Jaguars tonight.

Justin Blackmon – that's who I mocked to the Jaguars at No. 7 in the latest mock draft, but there are countless other scenarios as logical. Blackmon, the Oklahoma State wide receiver, well could go to the Vikings at No. 3 or the Rams at No. 6. He could be there for the Jaguars at No. 7, and the Jaguars could get a trade offer so compelling that they pass on Blackmon and move back.

He could also be there and the team opt instead to take another player. There are enough wide receivers later in the draft that it makes sense.

Blackmon. Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus. If I had to bet, I'd bet one of them is the Jaguars' selection in the first round. I'm glad I don't have to bet. I could easily be wrong.

Our efforts at mock drafts in recent weeks pretty much sum up the uncertainty around the Jaguars at No. 7. In March, I put Mercilus there in mock draft v 1.0. In April, it was Cox in v 2.0. This week, I went with Blackmon.

On Wednesday, on Jaguars This Week, we had our own mock draft. We toyed with the idea of Blackmon, then finally decided on Cox. I snuck off for my version of a workout – 20 minutes of clumsy desperation on the treadmill – and when I returned, Gilmore was on the board at No. 7.

That was the bad news. The good news was I took home the leftover pizza.

If I had to guess I still say the draft comes down to this: if Blackmon is there, the Jaguars take him. If he's not, they try hard to trade back. If they can't trade back, they take Gilmore or Cox at No. 7 and take a receiver in the second round.

If they can trade back, my bet is they go for Mercilus or Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, a guy who has turned into one of the most-talked about players of the draft in recent days. You keep hearing maybe he slips into the Top 10. If he does, maybe the Jaguars are that team.

That's it. That's my primer. How accurate my guess is is anyone's guess, but we do know that around 9 p.m., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will step to the podium with the Jaguars card in hand.

Until then, the clock ticks. Until then, we wait.

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