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Too talented to pass


One thing about the 2012 reader mock draft is that any advice better have merit.

If not, those doing the mocking will go their own way.

The good thing about that scenario is usually that way will be a good way, and with the Dallas Cowboys on the clock on Day 14 of the '12 reader mock, that absolutely was the case.

In the days leading to Day 14 there had been a ton of names mentioned – a ton of very logical, well-known, much-discussed names – and still, the readers went in an entirely different direction. And wouldn't you know it?

The direction was the right one.

Before we got there, the readers had to go about debating the day's offering. That was defensive tackle Dontari Poe of Memphis, who we offered up based on a standout performance at the combine and Dallas' relatively strong need at the position.

The offering did draw a small measure of support.

"It's Poe," Joshua wrote. "In this mock draft, it makes the most sense."

Not to most readers, it didn't, because to most readers, the Cowboys' need at the tackle position just isn't great enough to merit the selection.

"I've been pushing for Dontari Poe the last few days, but today is not the day he goes," Matt wrote. "The Cowboys could use some help on the DL, but more at end than tackle, so for as good as Poe is, they might not be getting the most out of their draft pick with him. Cowboys go for a DE instead and take Nick Perry out of USC."

Perry has been flittering at the edge of the mock draft thus far, getting mentioned but not nearly enough to merit selection, and it was quickly apparent that was the case on Day 14, too.  The same was true of another defensive end, Whitney Mercilus of Illinois – famous (infamous) in these parts for being the guy a certain writer mocked to the Jaguars at No. 7 and a player Teal believes makes a lot of sense for Dallas seven selections later.

"I'm gonna go with Whitney Mercilus here," Teal wrote. "The Cowboys spent big (again) at their need positions, bringing in CB Brandon Carr, ILB Dan Connor, and a few interior offensive linemen.  Jerry Jones has addressed interest in targeting a pass rusher, and with that being their top remaining unaddressed need, I think they'll pull the trigger."

Now, make no mistake:

Although No. 7 to the Jaguars may indeed be too high for Mercilus, I still believe he goes in the first round. But it was just hard to put him here to Dallas with so many compelling arguments pulling the day in a different direction.

One of those arguments was that Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly would be a perfect fit in the Cowboys' 3-4, and Gary Cislo thought that a certain area of struggle by Dallas last season could cajole the Cowboys to move in an out-of-the-box direction.

"Remember those terrible snaps by the center for the Cowboys, when he blamed it on the other team's defense for shouting their cadences?" Cislo wrote. "I think it's time for Dallas to take advantage of a great NFL prospect in Peter Konz out of Wisconsin. He can also play guard which would solidify the Cowboy's O-line after drafting Tyron Smith last year."

Credit Cislo for the thought, and discredit me for not having the guts to go that far outside the norm, because it's just hard to see a center that early. The majority seemed to believe the Cowboys just had to do something about a defense that struggled last season, and that led some to believe that either safety Mark Barron of Alabama or linebacker Dont'a Hightower of Alabama would be the selection.

In the end, though, the focus eventually settled on cornerback, and though Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina got some quick consideration, a pretty overwhelming movement started pretty early in favor of the player many consider the draft's riskiest player.

Janoris Jenkins, a cornerback from North Alabama, is well-known to many of our mockers because he began his career at Florida. He's well-known to NFL teams not only for being one of the best three corners available but for a litany of off-field concerns.

But he is really, really talented, and considering that talent, many mockers believe in this mock he has waited long enough.

"Jerry Jones has shown that he will overlook character concerns when a big talent is available," Grose wrote, and he was far from alone in that thought.

"Janoris Jenkins is the pick here," Ryan wrote. "He is clearly an NFL talent and the Cowboys have never been a team scared of players with off-the-field issues, a la Adam Jones and Dez Bryant.  With the hole left from the release of (Terence) Newman, the 'Boys have to be thinking cornerback all the way. "

And with that, so were we, which means after 14 selections, the 2012 reader mock looks like:

1.Indianapolis | Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2.Washington | Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

3.Minnesota | Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California

4.Cleveland | Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

5.Tampa Bay | Morris Claiborne, CB, Louisiana State

6.St. Louis | Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

7.Jacksonville | Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

8.Miami | Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

9.Carolina | Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

10.Buffalo | David DeCastro, G, Stanford

11.Kansas City | Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

12.Seattle | Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

13.Arizona | Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

14.Dallas | Janoris Jenkins,  CB, North Alabama

With that, we move on to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 15 with a heads-up. We'll be taking a few days off in the reader mock, not because we're close to the midway point, but because I'll be in South Florida at the NFL Owners Meetings early next week for We'll pick it back up late next week, and when we do, we'll have offered up Poe here to the Eagles because he seems too talented to fall past here, and because of need. See you in a week or so.

Have at it.

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