- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In the first major ESPN mock draft since the NFL scouting combine, draft analyst Todd McShay slotted Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes to the Washington Redskins at No. 13.

Hughes recorded 49 tackles, a forced fumble and four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, for UCF in 2017, as the Knights went on to finish the season as the only undefeated team in Division I FBS football.

“Hughes is a talented cover corner who also supports the run,” McShay wrote. “A playmaker when the ball is in the air, he’s also a dynamic return specialist.”

Analysis:

Hughes wasn’t on many radars a season ago and his stock rose over the course of the season and postseason. That’s partly because he only played two seasons of college ball. Hughes transferred from North Carolina to UCF and sat out the 2016 season due to transfer rules.



No. 13 overall may be a little high for Hughes, who some scouts grade as a second-round pick. At the combine, he ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash, recorded a 35.5 vertical leap and measured in at 5-foot-11, 191 pounds.

Washington will need a new starting cornerback if Bashaud Breeland walks in free agency. There also were reports last month saying Josh Norman wanted out of Washington.

The returner angle here is interesting. The Redskins haven’t had a special teams touchdown since Jamison Crowder scored on a punt return against the Ravens in 2016. Though Crowder is fast and dynamic, he averaged a paltry 6.3 yards per return with five fumbles last year, and he only had one return further than 20 yards.

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