Every draft – mock or otherwise – has a catch-your-breath moment.
In the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft, such a moment – one of them, at least – came at selection No. 20. And not just because the selection came on a weekend, or because it came a few selections after that of the Jaguars.
Whatever the reason, the readers had an easy time with the 20thselection.
As a result, they came up with a selection for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that – on paper, at least – made a whole lot of sense because the overall feeling of the day was that it met the perfect combination of need and value.
And while that made the day a no-brainer for many readers, the day did feature some intriguing discussion, much of which focused on the quality job Tampa Bay has done building into a contender – and the manner in which the Buccaneers have done it.
Mandal addressed this before suggesting Tampa Bay might go a direction currently not being considered a possibility by many.
"Tampa is quickly rebuilding its team through the draft via BAP," Mandal wrote of the "Best Available Player" philosophy championed by Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith. "As has been frequently noted, the defensive end crop this year is very deep. We&39;ve still got notable prospects on the board like Adrian Clayborn (of Iowa), Cameron Heyward (of Ohio State), and Brooks Reed (of Arizona).
"Now Reed is a funny one because he&39;s not usually mentioned in the big-time mock drafts. I have a feeling he&39;s a quiet climber in teams' draft rooms. Just give me this hunch, even though I don&39;t think very many people will be with me on this one, but I say the next BAP here is Reed and that&39;s who the Bucs take."
The mention of Reed had an educated feel to it that Kevin Grab noted immediately.
"Brooks Reed may be one of those 'quiet risers' – a la Tyson Alualu from last year," Grab wrote, adding, "The NFL personnel departments will be going back to the tape religiously between now and the draft amidst their medical checks and re-checks ad nauseam. We won&39;t ever really know what the personnel departments are really thinking of this guy, but just because the media is not keying in on it does not mean it is not happening."
The senior writer liked this theory a lot, but lacking guts, he sheepishly moved on with the gnawing idea that he'd be saying, "Thought that might happen" when the Bucs call Reed on draft day.
One thing that was pretty close to a consensus among the readers was that the Bucs will be addressing defense, and as such, UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers got some mention, as did Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and Georgia linebacker Justin Houston.
Of that group, Ayers has received pretty serious mention in recent days, and jagsfan22 made a strong case for the Buccaneers.
"The Bucs take Akeem Ayers at No. 20," jagsfan22 wrote, adding. "I previously did not see Ayers falling this far but he did not run the best 40 yard dash at the combine and plus you have to get the big guys; thus pushing him down this far. He is still a very good OLB and athlete and if you put on the tape he is definitely worth the 20th overall pick."
That pretty much has been Ayers' pre-draft story, that while he's a good player, his speed and the priority teams are placing on the defensive front may be costing him a good chunk of his draft status.
Aldon Smith has had a different story – in the jaguars.com reader mock, anyway.
Smith, an outside linebacker from Missouri, has received some solid mention in the last week or so in the reader mock. The consensus among the readers is the guy can play and merits a Top-20 selection, but thus far, teams have just gone in a different direction.
That's why when it came time to select for the Bucs, there just seemed to be this inevitable feel from the beginning – that as the readers caught their collective breath, Smith was just too good to drop any further.
"Aldon Smith has slipped in this mock draft farther than I think he will come draft time," 1ofthemanyjagsfans wrote, adding, "We have just got too far to ignore him any longer. Like I said, won&39;t be there this long but if he is, he will get snatched up here."
Added Teal, "This one is easy. Aldon Smith has the most upside as a pass rusher, he fits the system like a glove, he&39;s the best player available and he fits a big need. The Bucs will absolutely be addressing the defensive position via draft, free agency, or both; and with free agency delayed and a crapshoot anyways. With such a highly rated guy on the board at this point, they&39;ll have little difficulty deciding on Smith."
And so, with the No. 20 selection of the jaguars.com 2011 reader mock draft, the Buccaneers select Smith, which makes the board look like this:
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
That brings us to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 21. Wide receiver would make some sense here, but there may not be one worth the selection, so we'll offer up offensive tackle Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin.
Have at it.