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While clock ticks with Kirk Cousins, multiple mock drafts connect Redskins with Baker Mayfield

While clock ticks with Kirk Cousins, multiple mock drafts connect Redskins with Baker Mayfield

NFL mock drafts are wildly unreliable, and of the good ones, the full picture doesn't start to become clear until much closer to draft night. 

Think about it: The NFL playoffs aren't even over yet. Most teams are in self-evaluation mode, readying decisions for free agency. Once NFL teams get to the NFL Combine in late February, that's when draft boards start to come to shape. And those draft boards aren't finalized for at least another month after a slew of college pro days. 

Still, mock drafts are fun to look at and discuss, and draft experts like ESPN's Mel Kiper and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller are well plugged in.

RELATED: FIVE POTENTIAL REDSKINS FIRST-ROUND PICKS

So when both of them have the Redskins drafting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the 13th overall pick, the interest level spikes. 

From Miller

Washington would be a great fit for Mayfield. He doesn't go to a city with an intense media market (New York) or a city with a long history of losing and a ton of pressure on a rookie quarterback (Cleveland). And with Jay Gruden as the head coach, Mayfield lands in a place where he'll be coached up and a scheme can be built around him.​

While the Redskins still have about two months to try and work out a long-term deal with current quarterback Kirk Cousins, few people around the situation feel a lot of optimism. Cousins gave a lukewarm answer about wanting to stay in Washington, and for years he has talked about wanting to see his true value on the open market. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden discussed his frustration with keeping Cousins on a one-year deal, as the Redskins have done the past two seasons. The coach wants his QB to be with the team for the long-term, and that could become clear by the NFL Draft in late April. 

If Cousins and the Redskins have not signed a long-term deal by the draft, and it seems unlikely, Washington should absolutely consider a QB with their first round pick.

What passer to take is a different argument, and that will be up to Bruce Allen, Doug Williams, Gruden and a collection of the Redskins highest scouts. There are also a number of QB-needy teams drafting ahead of Washington. 

As for Mayfield, he was certainly a star in college. As a senior he won the 2017 Heisman Trophy, throwing for more than 4,600 yards with 43 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He completed an absurd 70 percent of his passes, extremely high accuracy for a college passer. He also ran for another 300 yards and five more scores. 

RELATED: BUILD UP DEFENSE AND FORGET BIG MONEY QB? IT'S NOT THAT EASY

There are questions about Mayfield. He might lack the height of traditional NFL quarterbacks, and he might lack the game of a traditional NFL pocket passer. Plus, he showed immaturity in on-field celebrations multiple times in 2017 and had an offseason arrest that resulted in a plea deal with Arkansas police. 

Plenty of players will get drafted that showed immaturity and even had offseason arrests. That's nothing new. 

For the Redskins, the biggest question remains Cousins' future. Once that's decided, or if it gets decided, the team will need to make a decision with the 13th pick. Looks like that decision could easily include Baker Mayfield. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 17, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 48
—NFL Draft (4/26) 99
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 235

Five possible Redskins first-round draft picks

As you can see from the “Days until” counter above, the NFL draft is 99 days away. A lot will happen between now and then but let’s look at some prospects who will fit the Redskins and who should be available at pick No. 13.

ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia—If you watched Georgia at all during the national semifinals or finals, you had to be impressed with his instincts, speed, hard hitting, and solid tackling. Even if free agent Zach Brown stays, the Redskins could pair him up with Smith and have a dynamic pair of inside linebackers for the first time since they started running the 3-4 in 2010. The problem for the Redskins is that his high-profile performances in those big game may have pushed Smith into the top 10.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma—A quarterback should be the choice early in the draft unless Kirk Cousins is signed to a long-term deal. Mayfield is an unconventional type of QB at about 6-1. There’s a lot to like about him, though—mobility, playmaking ability, and deep ball accuracy. He seems to have learned from his off-field mistakes, including an arrest about a year ago (apparently for yelling). In any case, if he is on the Redskins’ radar they will thoroughly vet him between now and draft day. Other QB possibilities are Josh Allen of Wyoming and Lamar Jackson of Louisville.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama—Hey, why not another wide receiver, which would be the second one in the first round in three years, and another member of the Crimson Tide after taking Alabama players 1-2 in 2017. I know that people would cringe at another round 1 WR, but after Terrelle Pryor flamed out last year it certainly is a need. Ridley would represent a solid value at No. 13.

DL Vita Vea, Washington—This pick would solve a couple of problems. At 6-4, 332 Vea has the size and strength needed to play nose tackle, solving another problem that has been around since 2010. What might make him worth a first-round pick is that he doesn’t have to go to the bench in nickel. Vea is versatile enough to rush the passer and play three downs. Start a line with Vea, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis, mix in a few quality rotational players, and get Jim Tomsula to coach them up and you will have a top-notch D-line. As of right now, Vea is considered to be more of a late first-round player but a lot can change in the next 99 days.

RB Derrius Guice, LSU—Dreams of getting Saquon Barkley at No. 13 are just that and trading up far enough to get him would cost way too much draft capital. But Guice is a good mix of speed, power, agility, and receiving ability. With the exception of Alfred Morris’ first couple of seasons, the Redskins have been ordinary at best since the prime of Clinton Portis a decade ago. Many were impressed with Sony Michel of Georgia, who could be available in the second round.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup: Calvin Ridley a top prospect

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USA Today Sports

2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup: Calvin Ridley a top prospect

The bad news, college football is over.

The good news, it's time to start looking a potential draft picks.

It's no secret to the Ravens' front office and fans that offensive weapons are needed.

They've only drafted an offensive player in the first three rounds three times since the 2013 draft. In 2017, they drafted zero. A possible ramification of this is the team being ranked 29th in the league in passing yards during the 2017 season. 

So we'll add wide receiver and tight end to the top of the shopping list. In addition, the team has acknowledged that it's time to begin the search for Joe Flacco's successor.

With all of that being said, let's take a look at the possible first-round draft picks for the Ravens sitting at No. 16.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 4.0

Wide Receiver

Calvin Ridley (Alabama): General manager Ozzie Newsome has a tendency to draft guys from his alma matter, and with 'Bama coming off of another national championship, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ridley go to the Ravens. 

Standing at 6-1 and 190 pounds, Ridley had 63 receptions during his 2017 season for 967 yards and five touchdowns. He would be a solid pickup if still available at No. 16.

Land of 10Rotoworld and Sports Illustrated all have Ridley going to the Ravens at No. 16.

Courtland Sutton (SMU): I literally said "dang" when looking up Sutton's 2017 stats.

The 6-4, 216 pound junior has 68 receptions for 1085 yards and 12 TD's in 2017. Just shy of his 76 receptions for 1246 yards and 10 TD's back in 2016.

Bleacher Report has Sutton going to the Ravens in the first-round. 

Christian Kirk (Texas A&M): Kirk has been considered a top prospect for the first round by many. 

The 5-11, 200 pound junior finished with 71 receptions, 919 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

James Washington (Oklahoma State): At 6-1, 205 pounds, Washington finished his senior year with 74 receptions for 1549 yards and 13 TD's. 

Washington could be a good snag if other viable WRs are gone by pick No. 16. 

Tight End

Mark Andrews (Oklahoma): Taking a look at first-round mock drafts around the industry, Andrews is the only TE listed in several of them. 

Andrews will tower over defensive players at 6-5, 254 pounds. He finished 2017 with 62 receptions, 958 yards and 8 TD's. He's a strong possibility with the 15 teams ahead of the Ravens in need of different positional players.

Defensive End/Back

Arden Key (LSU): If history repeats itself, the Ravens may select a defensive weapon in the first-round.

What Key could bring to the table at 6-6, 238 pounds is some relief to Terrell Suggs who will be 36 in 2018.

Ben Standing- in his latest NFL mock draft -has Key being drafted by the Ravens.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama): There are two things Ozzie Newsome likes; defensive players and defensive players from Alabama.

Fitzpatrick can check both of those off of his list. He's also a two-time All-American, won the Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year and won the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's best defensive back. As of early Tuesday morning, he can add national champion to that list too.

CBS Sports has Fitzpatrick going to the Ravens in the first-round.

RELATED: FIVE BIGGEST OFFSEASON QUESTIONS FOR RAVENS 

Quarterback

Josh Allen (Wyoming) : While I don't foresee the Ravens taking a QB in the first-round, Allen would be a good pick if for some crazy reason they did. Bigger named QBs like Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen will likely be taken by bottom five teams in desperate need of one.

At 6-5, 233 pounds, Allen had 1812 yards on the season for 16 touchdowns. 

Bold pick: If the Ravens are that focused on finding their next franchise QB, they could trade up to grab someone like Mayfield or Jackson.