ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 02: Stephon Gilmore #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks returns a blocked extra point for a touchdown during the Capitol One Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Florida Citrus Bowl on January 2, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
After the end of the college football season, from day one, LSU CB Morris Claiborne has been the No. 1 ranked defensive back heading into the 2012 NFL draft. Not much has changed after the Combines and Pro Days because Claiborne was able to show decent size combined with good speed. Regardless of reports coming out of the combine that Claiborne scored a four on the Wonderlic test, his stock hasn't bumped one bit.
On the other hand, South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore's draft stock has risen and continues to rise, eventually climaxing with the report (smoke?) that the Jaguars would prefer to pick Gilmore with the No. 7 pick in the 2012 draft.
Save for the fact that Claiborne isn't likely falling to the Jaguars, it makes for wonderful pillow talk by the Jaguars to talk Gilmore up if you a) are trying to create the impression that Gilmore is better so Claiborne falls (which he won't) or b) intend to draft Gilmore and want him to feel that insantiable love.
Gilmore has been projected by many mock drafts as one of Cincinnati's selections because of his athleticism, ball skills, and great run stopping ability. For many draftniks and Bengals fans, it is not surprising that Gilmore has been praised lately because many of us have been doing the same in recent months.
Claiborne has been projected to the Browns, the Buccaneers and Rams -- the No. 4-6 teams -- him because of a need for secondary upgrades. Even the Vikings have hinted that Claiborne is on their short list. In reality it would simply be surprising if Claiborne fell to the Jaguars than if they took Gilmore over Claiborne.
Two reasons come to mind that the Jaguars are making their preference known. First, we conjectured, they may actually think that Claiborne is going to fall because of unknown and unreleased information. Or the Jaguars could be positioning themselves as a target for any team looking to trade up for someone like Gilmore. It's the Jaguars. Who knows what they're thinking.
Gilmore is a great player, likely a servicable defensive back in the NFL for any team that selects him. During these final weeks before the draft, there is only one thing that anybody can be sure of: you can trust nothing that you read...except for anything on this website, of course. Lying and smoke-screens have become more normal than honesty with most teams, refusing to reveal their hand. It wouldn't surprise me if this ended up being the case with the Jaguars, but it also wouldn't surprise me if it were true and the Jaguars drafted Gilmore with the No. 7 overall pick.