As you all know, the SB Nation 2011 NFL Mock Draft as done by the writer's of each team's blog is going on right now. In the first round I picked FSU quarterback Christian Ponder, because I felt like he can be a franchise quarterback and the fact that I didn't feel a quarterback would be available by pick 49, as trading is not allowed in this mock draft.
In round 2, I decided to go pure best available player.
With the 49th overall pick in the 2011 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Ben Ijalana, offensive tackle, Villanova.
Ben Ijalana is purely a best available player pick on my draft board. One of the Jaguars' needs is on the offensive line as well, and Ijalana can battle with third year right tackle Eben Britton, with the loser kicking to the inside and playing guard. The interior line of the Jaguars is an area that needs to be addressed. Adding a player like Ijalana will strengthen the line as a whole. Brad Meester is 34 years old and Uche Nwaneri, who was just signed to a long-term deal in the 2010 season, has been crossed trained at the center position.
To read the reaction and vote on the pick, see the 2011 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft Round 2 post on MockingTheDraft.com. Other's I considered at the pick heavily were Iowa DE Christian Ballard, OLB Mason Foster, and WR Leonard Hankerson.
As for my notion that a QB wouldn't be available at pick 49... boy was I right in this mock draft. Here's how the QB's fell after Ponder:
- Pick 25. Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Mallett
- Pick 34. Buffalo Bills: Jake Locker
- Pick 35. Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton
- Pick 43. Minnesota Vikings: Ricky Stanzi
- Pick 45. San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick
Now, it's possible without my selection of Christian Ponder at 16 one of those could have slipped to 49 overall, but it also means a guy who went before the Tennessee Titans pick at 39 would have fallen and gone at 39.