Chanukah (or Hanukkah, depending on your favorite spelling) is currently being celebrated, Christmas is neigh, and Bowl Season has started.
Update: Check out our 2015 NFL Draft preview.
In the spirit of the season, Invictus, Jesse and I decided to bring you all a two-round mock draft. We know there's going to be a reaction to this one, so let's get to it.
(Note: This mock was completed before the results of the Jacksonville/Tennessee match-up)
The Mock Draft
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - No. 1)
Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) - (Invictus)
Easy choice here. Tampa gets their QB of the future. Mariota throwing to Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is going to be scary for the rest of the NFC South.
2) Tennessee Titans (Last Week: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska - No. 2)
Randy Gregory (DE/OLB, Nebraska) - (Jesse)
The Titans need help all over the place. Gregory is a terrific athlete with limitless potential.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Mizzou - No.3)
Andrus Peat (OT, Stanford) - (Raptor)
The Jaguars offensive line has given up 62 sacks (and well over 100 quarterback hits) so far this season. Blake Bortles could grow up to be Ben Roethlisberger, but they need to get him some protection before he grows up to be David Carr.
4) Oakland Raiders (Last Week: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford - No. 5)
Leonard Williams (DT, USC) - (Invictus)
No Leonard Williams to the Giants this time around, friends. He's my top rated player overall and it's due to his size, quickness, disruptive ability, leverage, and power. Hard to find many weaknesses.
5) Washington Redskins (Last Week: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa - No. 6)
Shane Ray (DE/OLB, Mizzou) - (Jesse)
The Redskins add a dynamic talent to pair with the terrific Ryan Kerrigan. Brian Orakpo is a free agent after this year and has missed a number of games in two of the past three seasons. It's 'likely the Redskins move on for him and he'll need to be replaced. If RG3 isn't retained then Winston could be a real possibility.
6) New York Jets (Last Week: Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - No. 4)
Jameis Winston (QB, FSU) - (Raptor)
It's starting to look like the Jets are going to get blown up this offseason. That organization is in such dire need of a franchise quarterback, I'm not sure they don't trade up to make this pick. Winston certainly has that upside, but his decisions and off-field issues make him a classic "Jets" pick.
7) Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: Mario Edwards, DL, FSU - No. 21)
Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa) - (Invictus)
Amari Cooper was my top-rated player left, but if there's one position the Falcons don't need, it's wide receiver. Scherff comes in and competes for both right tackle and at guard. They are decimated at either position. We don't know how Sam Baker is going to do coming back, and a tackle combo of Scherff and Jake Matthews would look awfully nice.
8) New York Giants (Last Week: Leonard Williams, DL, USC - No. 7)
Amari Cooper (WR, Alabama) - (Consensus)
This is a no-brainer pick. He's a top-five talent in the draft, top four on our boards. Cooper is a perfect fit for McAdoo's offense. He is quick, fast enough, has good size, and advanced route-running skills. His routes are crisp and precise, and for a timing-based offense, that is absolutely crucial. Also, one of the reasons for his success this past season has been Lane Kiffin moving him all around Alabama's offense. Giving McAdoo and Eli two receivers who can line up anywhere, be exactly where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there, and break a huge play at any time takes this offense to another level.
9) Chicago Bears (Last Week: Landon Collins, S, Alabama - No. 9)
Dante Fowler Jr. (DE, Florida) - (Jesse)
The Bears need help everywhere on their defense. Fowler Jr. might not be mocked in the top ten yet, but with a good pre-draft process very well could be. What kind of defensive help they go with will largely depend on the new coaching staff.
10) Carolina Panthers (Last Week: La'El Collins, OT, LSU - No.8)
Shawn Oakman (DE, Baylor) - (Raptor)
In one season we've seen the Panthers' defense go from being one of the best in the league. The biggest difference between 2013 and 2014 has been the absence of defensive end Greg Hardy. Oakman is a bit of an unknown at this point, but with his unique blend of size and athleticism, his upside is enormous.
11) Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - No. 11)
Landon Collins (S, Alabama) - (Invictus)
Easy choice. Collins has fantastic range for a strong safety, so pairing him up with Harrison Smith allows the Vikings to have an elite secondary with Xavier Rhodes and provides their defensive front with enough time to tee off on the quarterback.
12) St. Louis Rams (Last Week: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville - No. 12)
Kevin White (WR, WVU) - (Jesse)
Tavon Austin is a nice player, but he's not a #1 WR. The Rams have a need there despite spending resources on players early the draft. They go back to the well one more time grabbing a big target who could complement Austin and hope they can get enough at quarterback to make the playoffs with their tough defense.
13) Houston Texans (Last Week: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St. - No.13)
Devin Funchess (WR, Michigan) - (Raptor)
Funchess' draft stock is going to be all over the place. Teams will need to decide if he's a tight end or a wide receiver, they'll want to see how he performs at the combine, how he runs routes and catches the ball in workouts... But he is a much better player than Michigan's offense allowed him to be. Bill O'Brien is a student of Belicheck and this pick could be right in his wheelhouse, and be a 50-yard pitch and catch option with Ryan Mallett.
14) Cleveland Browns (Last Week: Kevin White, WR, WVU - No. 14)
La'El Collins (OT, LSU) - (Invictus)
Mitchell Schwartz is not getting it done at right tackle for the Browns (sorry Geoff!), so let's put him at guard and insert Collins at right tackle. Two spots upgraded right away to help Johnny Manziel have more time to throw more interceptions.
15) San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn - No. 15)
Danny Shelton (DT, Washington) - (Jesse)
Shelton is a big nose tackle type who is as talented as B.J. Raji and Dan Williams so it's very possible he goes in the top half of the first round to a 34 defense.
16) Miami Dolphins (Last Week: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington - No.16)
Shaq Thompson (LB, Washington) - (Raptor)
The strength of the Dolphins is their disruptive front 4. They have the luxury of being able to at least pressure quarterbacks with only four rushers. Shaq Thompson is a dynamic linebacker who can be a chess piece for that defense, attacking downhill, covering huge chunks of the field, and creating turnovers. He also gives them a legitimate option for covering New England's tight ends.
17) Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - No. 18)
DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville) - (Invictus)
Parker is one of the fastest risers in the draft and it's clear why. He's got easy athleticism to go with a great frame and could be a top ten type pick at the end of it all. Great catch radius and body control. The Chiefs could absolutely use that.
18) San Diego Chargers (Last Week: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, TAMU - No. 21)
Cedric Ogbuehi (OT, TAMU) - (Jesse)
Though the Chargers have a pretty good offense, their offensive line play has actually been subpar. They have only one player on the offensive line with a positive grade--old buddy King Dunlap and it's only a 3.8. This is their biggest need and solid value here.
19) Cleveland Browns -- via Buffalo Bills -- (Last Week: Dante Fowler Jr, DE, Florida - No. 17)
Benardrick McKinney (ILB, Miss. St.) - (Raptor)
Mike Pettine has that defense playing well, but their inside linebackers are Karlos Dansby and Tank Carder. McKinney has some questions about his coverage in space, but he is big, long, and fast. He is dangerous when attacking downhill. Perfect for that division.
20) Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson - No. 27)
Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan St.) - (Invictus)
After watch Dez Bryant smack around Bradley Fletcher, and see that the guy opposite him is Cary Williams, well, it's pretty easy to see why I took my highest rated cover corner for the Eagles.
21) New Orleans Saints (Last Week: Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington - No. 10)
Alvin "Bud" Dupree (DE/OLB, Kentucky) - (Jesse)
Saints add a defensive playmaker here. Their pass rush has been alright especially from Junior Galette, but Dupree is a good addition here, provides good depth and gives Cameron Jordan a bit of a reprieve as he's been among the league leaders in snaps played by a defensive linemen the past couple of years.
22) Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss - No. 22)
Michael Bennett (DT, Ohio St.) - (Raptor)
One of the saddest moments of the season for me was when Brett Kiesel's beard (and Kiesel too, I guess) got put on the IR. That defense is just getting old and tired. Bennett has a great build for a 3-4 defensive end and is a disruptive player. Pittsburgh likes Ohio St. front 7 players too.
23) Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: Dhaquille Williams, WR, Auburn - No.19)
Jaelen Strong (WR, Arizona St) - (Invictus)
I'm anticipating Torrey Smith moving on in free agency. If that's the case, Strong makes sense as a massive target for Joe Flacco, who'd pretty much only have the aging Steve Smith left.
24) Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas - No. 24)
Vic Beasley (OLB, Clemson) - (Jesse)
Best player available and gives them a better SAM option then they have had in awhile. They don't have any positively ranked linebackers this year according to Pro Football Focus.
25) Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: Marcus Peters, CB - No. 20)
Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin) - (Raptor)
I hated making this pick, but if the Cowboys have to choose between Bryant and DeMarco Murray, they'll choose Bryant, especially after riding Murray into the ground this season. How many backs even come close to repeating a season like Murray is having? Not many, so they'll probably need a new one.
26) Detroit Lions (Last Week: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - No. 25)
Eddie Goldman (DT, FSU) - (Invictus)
Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are likely both gone. If that's the case they need a stout player in the middle. Goldman reminds me of former teammate Timmy Jernigan, except bigger and with a better first step.
27) Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: Benardrick McKinney, LB, Miss. St. - No. 26)
Sammie Coates (WR, Auburn) - (Jesse)
They have maybe the best offense in the league, but Reggie Wayne is not getting younger and Hakeem Nicks is a shell of his former self (that we already knew). There is some hope for Donte Moncrief developing into a starter, but they might not be able to pass here on a talent like Coates.
28) Green Bay Packers (Last Week: Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma - No. 29)
Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame) - Brian Bulaga is injured and a free agent. As great as the Packers' offense has been, their offensive line has gotten Aaron Rodgers beaten up over the years. Stanley is a prototypical left tackle, and if he comes out he could shoot up draft boards.
29) Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St. - No. 28)
Nate Orchard (DE/OLB, Utah St.) - (Invictus)
Note: This was before the Seahawks extended Cliff Avril. They could absolutely still use Orchard though, as a speed rusher that provides tremendous upside in a linebacker or defensive end role.
30) New England Patriots (Last Week: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan - No. 30)
TJ Clemmings (OT, Pittsburgh) - (Jesse)
They add a nice young offensive linemen because besides Vollmer no one else has stood out positively for the Patriots on the offensive line.
31) Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St. - No. 31)
Erik Kendricks (LB, UCLA) - The Cardinals should be getting Daryl Washington back next year, but they'll probably need an upgrade from the apparently immortal Larry Foote. Combining Washington and Kendricks gives Todd Bowles a pair of athletic, dynamic linebackers and opens up all sorts of blitzing options.
32) Denver Broncos (Last Week: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh - No. 32)
Denzel Perryman (LB, Miami) - (Invictus)
If it were most other teams, I think Perryman is a day 2 guy. I think he's perfect for the Broncos to help clean up after their pass rushers and he's smart enough to direct their attack. The perfect glue guy for them in the middle.
33) Tennessee Titans - Shilique Calhoun (DE, Michigan St.) - (Jesse)
I didn't plan on going two pass rushers in one draft , but I just grabbed the two best players on the board at the time, and the Titans are transitioning from a 4-3 to 3-4 and still lack play-makers on the defense. In retrospect they could look defensive back, a position which has been filled with inconsistent play
34) Jacksonville Jaguars - PJ Williams (CB, FSU) - (Raptor)
The Jags need help all over their roster. Williams could be a free safety or corner at the next level, so he can upgrade their defense wherever he plays best. Pairing him with Telvin Smith could make for a very interesting defense going forward.
35) Oakland Raiders - Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Oklahoma) - (Invictus)
What position don't they need? Well, QB for one, though he needs plenty of help. DGB is possibly the most talented WR in the nation, but he's got a myriad of issues. The Raiders take a risk for greatness.
36) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ereck Flowers (OT, Miami) - (Jesse)
The Logan Mankins trade has worked out well, but the rest of the offensive line has been below average.
37) New York Jets - Ty Sambrailo (OT, Colorado St.) - (Raptor)
The Jets got their QB with their first pick, and now upgrade their left tackle with their second pick. This also allows D'Brickashaw Ferguson to move to right tackle.
38) Washington Redskins - Gerod Holliman (S, Louisville) - (Invictus)
Odell Beckham made it clear last week that the Redskins need defensive help in spades. Here's to letting them getting a massive upgrade in the secondary.
39) New York Giants - Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia) - (Consensus)
Todd Gurley is one of the five most talented players in the whole draft. His injury and positional value (or lack thereof) knock him down to the second round, but in terms of pure talent he is a top-five player. He is big, fast (see: 100+ yard TD return), agile, and simply monstrously powerful. He also possesses good hands and vision.
40) Chicago Bears - Cody Prewitt (S, Ole Miss) - (Jesse)
The Bears go secondary here after getting help in the front 7 in the first round. They are starting Ryan Mundy at safety that's all you need to know about this pick.
41) Atlanta Falcons - Danielle Hunter (DE/OLB, LSU) - (Raptor)
It has been a game of "Insert Pass Rusher Here" for the Falcons in our Power Mocks and mock drafts. That continues here. Hunter is a long, athletic, and surprisingly powerful passrusher. At 6'6" 240, he can be a stand up rusher or a defensive end.
42) Carolina Panthers - A.J. Cann (OG, South Carolina) - (Invictus)
A fatty for Cam. They've got their offensive line in tatters and Cann was the best offensive lineman left on the board, thus he was the pick. Pretty simple.
43) St. Louis Rams - Connor Cook (QB, Michigan St) - (Jesse)
What are the Rams going to at quarterback that is one of the biggest off-season questions that need to be answered in the league. The Rams are a very good team, but they don't have the horse at quarterback. Could Cook be the answer? He'll be a guy coaches love and a name that'll move up the draft boards prior to the draft.
44) Minnesota Vikings - Ty Montgomery (WR, Stanford) - (Raptor)
Patterson is a weapon and the Vikings say he figures into their future, but Montgomery comes from a pro-style offense and can step in immediately and be a reliable -- and dangerous -- target for Teddy Bridgewater.
45) Cleveland Browns - D'haquille "Duke" Williams (WR, Auburn) - (Invictus)
46) San Francisco 49ers - Cam Erving (OG, FSU) - (Jesse)
The 49ers could lose Mike Iupati to free agency and if so they'll be looking to replace him. Ervin has plenty of versatility and could play a number of positions along the line at a high level.
47) Miami Dolphins - Derron Smith (FS, Fresno St.) - (Raptor)
The Dolphins upgraded the middle of their defense with their first pick, and they upgrade the back end of their defense with their second. Smith has nice ball skills and delivers shots as well.
48) Houston Texans - Brett Hundley (QB, Baylor) - (Invictus)
Their biggest need remains at QB. Unfortunately Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were long gone before they even picked, so they wait until the second to pick up the talented but mercurial Brett Hundley.
49) San Diego Chargers - TJ Yeldon (RB, Alabama) - (Jesse)
Ryan Matthews can't stay healthy and while Brandon Oliver has had moments he's not a guy who will win a team a lot of football games. Yeldon has first round ability and is a good value pick here.
50) Buffalo Bills - Jesse James (TE, Penn St) - (Raptor)
I'm going to assume that Doug Marrone will still be there, and they'll want to give E.J. Manuel one more chance. Jesse James is a huge target that -- I don't think -- even the notoriously streaky Manuel can miss. Combining the 6'7" Jesse James with the electric abilities of Sammy Watkins will give defenses fits.
51) Kansas City Chiefs - Tyrus Thompson (OT, Oklahoma) - (Invictus)
After losing Branden Albert, the Chiefs need a stabilizing presence on the offensive line. Thompson can play right tackle or guard at the next level and provides a versatile player for a Chiefs team that needs to protect the QB.
52) Philadelphia Eagles - Arik Armstead (DL, Oregon) - (Jesse)
Kelly goes back to the Oregon well to grab a talented defensive linemen.
53) New Orleans Saints - Malcom Brown (DT, Texas) - (Raptor)
Once again: Will somebody in the NFC South please play defense? Malcom Brown could be a first round DT, but he's fallen in this mock. Big, powerful, and surprisingly athletic, Brown could play corner and upgrade that defense.
54) Baltimore Ravens - Marcus Peters (CB) - (Invictus)
Marcus Peters was kicked off his team but he was the best corner in the draft. He falls here because of it as the Ravens take a chance that they can rehabilitate whatever went wrong with him.
55) Pittsburgh Steelers - Nick O'Leary (TE, FSU) - (Jesse)
Heath Miller received his AARP card in the mail last week. O'leary can be the next Miller. He's an extremely steady and reliable player.
56) Cincinnati Bengals - Ronald Darby (DB, FSU) - (Raptor)
The Bengals are another team that needs help in the secondary, and like his teammate PJ Williams, Darby is very athletic, but could be either a free safety or corner at the next level. The Bengals could use either one.
57) Detroit Lions - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB, Oregon) - (Invictus)
They could go in a myriad of ways but Ifo is a good one. He unfortunately tore his ACL, but otherwise would've been a first round pick. The Lions go for it and stash him as a player that can come back during the season and contribute.
58) Indianapolis Colts - Duke Johnson (RB, Miami) - (Jesse)
Went a little Bill Polian here with this pick going back to back offensive play maker when the defense is undermanned. But Trent Richardson is clearly not the answer and Bradshaw is always an injury risk.
59) Green Bay Packers - Carl Davis (DT, Iowa) - (Raptor)
B.J. Raji's future with the Packers is uncertain. Davis is big, long armed tackle who could play any position in the 3-4, or either DT position in the 4-3, giving the packers a lot of flexibility.
60) Seattle Seahawks - Clive Walford (TE, Miami) - (Invictus)
Walford reminds me of our own Larry Donnell, except probably a rich man's version and one that's more athletic. There's no doubt that Russell Wilson would appreciate a weapon like that.
61) Dallas Cowboys - Kurtis Drummond (FS, Michigan St.) - (Jesse)
Cowboys don't need offensive pieces, but they do need help in the secondary.
62) Arizona Cardinals - Hauoli Kikaha (OLB, Washington) - (Raptor)
Jon Abraham's career is over, so the Cardinals will likely need another edge rusher to fill that void. Kikaha is a powerful, aggressive rusher who isn't getting much attention at the moment. Like Abraham, he can be a stand-up rusher or put his hand in the dirt, giving Bowles even more options.
63) Denver Broncos - Hroniss Grasu (C, Oregon) - (Invictus)
Manny Ramirez and Will Montgomery are both almost 32 years old, so the Broncos need a good center prospect to groom and take over. Grasu is the best one in the draft.
64) New England Patriots - Mario Edwards (DT, FSU) - (Jesse)
First round ability not always first round consistency. If anyone can get it out of him it's Belichick.
A Word On The Giants' Draft
This is normally the point where I invite everyone to tell us what they liked, what they didn't, and where we got it horribly wrong.
Our own Ed jumped the gun and sent Jesse, Invictus, and myself this e-mail shortly after we finished the mock draft:
Let me be the first to CRUCIFY you for the mock draft you haven't even published yet. LOL!!! Two rounds w/a wide receiver and a running back, ignoring the needs at OL and in the defensive front seven?
The Giants will get DESTROYED in the media if they do that ... Unless they handle those other positions via FA.
The Giants got into this mess by ignoring the OL and defensive front seven.
Just my $.02, but if JR does this I'd call for his head.
The Amari Cooper pick was a no-brainer. He is a top four player on all of our boards. The way the Giants draft, if you have a player from a higher neighborhood than any other one left on your board, you take him.
I can't speak for Invictus or Jesse, but for me, Amari Cooper is a peer to Shane Ray, Leonard Williams, and Randy Gregory (Invictus edit: Yeah, me too!). All guys who can reasonably be expected to go in the top-5 of most drafts. The next highest rated players I had were Shaq Thompson, DeVante Parker, Shawn Oakman, and La'El Collins. They would all be good picks at 8th overall, but Cooper is a fantastic pick.
In the second round, Gurley presented overwhelming value, but it wasn't quite a no-brainer. We considered AJ Cann, Danielle Hunter, and Cody Prewitt there.
The Giants need a left guard, and they need a free safety. With the way JPP, Ayers, Moore, and now Kerry Wynn have played, edge rusher is much less of an issue now than it was a month ago.
However, we came to the conclusion that "need" can be addressed with the Giants' 20-some million dollars of cap room in free agency. The draft is for adding talent, and Todd Gurley is absolutely one of the five most talented football players in this draft. Maybe top three. That kind of talent at No. 39 is simply too much to overlook. The prospect of giving McAdoo and Eli an offense that features: Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz, Amari Cooper, and Todd Gurley is too much to turn down. (Jesse's edit. It can also be added that running back is a need, too. Jennings is a nice player, but he is 30 years old and Andre Williams is a fourth-round pick who is averaging 3.2 yards per carry. I like both players, but adding a dynamic running back is a need).
There is more to protecting your QB than offensive linemen, and there is not a "Franchise Quarterback" in the whole NFL who is operating with less around him than Eli Manning is now. Having a running back who only needs average linemen to be great, and three receivers who can turn any short pass into a touchdown goes a long way to protecting Eli, and the defense.