- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2018

The scouting combine is in the rear-view mirror. The first hectic days of free agency are through. A team just traded into the top three of the draft. What better time is there to publish one of these?

Redskins beat writer Matthew Paras and staff sports writer Adam Zielonka took a good look at the first round of April’s NFL Draft and pieced together the Washington Times’ first mock draft of 2018.

Paras made the odd-numbered selections, including Washington at No. 13, while Zielonka picked the even numbers. See how much you agree (or disagree) with our staff.

1. Cleveland Browns — QB Sam Darnold, USC

Paras: The Browns need a quarterback and they go with the least polarizing one.

2. New York Giants — RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Zielonka: Quarterback might be in play for the Giants, but they shouldn’t pass up the chance to fix their issues at running back in one fell swoop.

3. New York Jets — QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

Paras: The Jets traded up for this pick, so quarterback makes sense. Give me Rosen’s accuracy over Josh Allen’s arm.

4. Cleveland Browns — DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Zielonka: If Barkley doesn’t fall to the Browns, they can settle for Fitzpatrick and add a likely starting cornerback to a rough secondary.

5. Denver Broncos — QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Paras: The Broncos signed Case Keenum, but Mayfield has the higher upside for a team needing to reinvent themselves on the offensive side of the ball.

6. Indianapolis Colts — DE Bradley Chubb, NC State

Zielonka: The Colts were frequently projected to pick Chubb at No. 3 before trading down, so it looks like that Jets trade was a smart move for both sides.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

Paras: This guy is a beast and the Buccaneers take the best player available on the board.

8. Chicago Bears — LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Zielonka: The Bears have several needs, but teams are high on Edmunds, who can either team up with Danny Trevathan on the inside or move outside and rush the passer with Leonard Floyd.

9. San Francisco 49ers — WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Paras: The 49ers add a shiny new toy for Jimmy Garoppolo.

10. Oakland Raiders — CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

Zielonka: It would be the second straight year the Raiders pick an Ohio State corner first (Gareon Conley missed most of last year due to injury), but they recorded a league-low five interceptions in 2017 and don’t have a clear-cut starter opposite Rashaan Melvin.

11. Miami Dolphins — OLB Marcus Davenport, UTSA

Paras: The Dolphins are rebuilding their defense, so Davenport would be a nice young prospect.

12. Buffalo Bills — QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

Zielonka: There’s an argument to be made that the Bills, now without Tyrod Taylor, need a quarterback out of this draft more than any other team.

13. Washington Redskins — DT Vita Vea, Washington

Paras: With the Redskins’ patient approach in free agency, they might need the draft to address their biggest need. Vea would be a great fit.

14. Green Bay Packers — WR Courtland Sutton, SMU

Zielonka: Everyone has a different opinion on this year’s receiver class and Sutton might not actually crack the first round. But he can become a nice, 6-foot-3 replacement for Jordy Nelson while learning behind Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.

15. Arizona Cardinals — QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Paras: The Cardinals gave $20 million to Sam Bradford, for some reason, but still need a long-term answer at quarterback.

16. Baltimore Ravens — C/G Billy Price, Ohio State

Zielonka: This is a bit high for the Buckeye, but with the top two receivers off the board, the Ravens might turn to replacing departed center Ryan Jensen.

17. Los Angeles Chargers — DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Paras: The Chargers had almost as bad of a run defense as the Redskins in 2017, so Payne will help the interior.

18. Seattle Seahawks — DE/OLB Harold Landry, Boston College

Zielonka: The Seahawks used to hoard defensive linemen, but they’ve traded Michael Bennett, they lost Sheldon Richardson and there’s no guarantee Cliff Avril or Malik McDowell will ever play again after bad injuries.

19. Dallas Cowboys — S Derwin James, Florida State

Paras: The Cowboys have had a quiet offseason, so maybe they’ll make some noise in the draft by taking James, regarded as one of the best safeties in this class.

20. Detroit Lions — CB Josh Jackson, Iowa

Zielonka: For a team that gave up the sixth-most passing yards in 2017, the ball-hawking Jackson would be a great upgrade over their current No. 2 corner, Nevin Lawson, who’s never recorded a pick in two and a half years of starting.

21. Cincinnati Bengals — LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

Paras: Vontaze Burfict’s time in Cincinnati seems to be running out, which opens the door for Smith.

22. Buffalo Bills — OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

Zielonka: The Bills have several needs they could address if they keep this pick, but one sensible fit is this replacement for starting tackle Cordy Glenn, whom they traded to Cincinnati for the 12th pick.

23. Los Angeles Rams — C James Daniels, Iowa

Paras: The Rams just extended John Sullivan, but he is 32. Daniels would add youth to the Rams aging O-line.

24. Carolina Panthers — WR D.J. Moore, Maryland

Zielonka: They acquired Torrey Smith from Philadelphia, but adding Moore in the slot would give new offensive coordinator Norv Turner another downfield threat in a talented offense.

25. Tennessee Titans — DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

Paras: Hubbard would give the Titans another pass rusher.

26. Atlanta Falcons — DT Taven Bryan, Florida

Zielonka: It’s the Falcons’ greatest need, and the athletic Bryan is hardly a disappointing consolation prize with Vea and Payne off the board.

27. New Orleans Saints — CB Donte Jackson, LSU

Paras: The Saints signed Patrick Robinson, but Jackson could help bolster a promising Saints defense.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers — LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Zielonka: Ryan Shazier wants to play again, but he won’t be back for the 2018 season, and Evans fell unexpectedly in this mock.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars — TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

Paras: The Jaguars added Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul, but Hurst seems to fit the mold of a “No. 1” tight end better.

30. Minnesota Vikings — CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida

Zielonka: If Hughes falls this far, Minnesota absolutely would add him to its threatening defense as a replacement for soon-to-be 40-year-old Terence Newman.

31. New England Patriots — LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Paras: Vander Esch grew up in a town of 400 people. Doesn’t that scream “Bill Belichick pick” to you?

32. Philadelphia Eagles — WR D.J. Chark, LSU

Zielonka: To replace Torrey Smith in the slot, Chark gets the nod over fellow receiver prospects Christian Kirk and James Washington thanks to his 4.34 40 time.

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