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Jameis Winston, Leonard Williams go first in NFL beat writers’ mock draft

Florida State's Jameis Winston and USC's Leonard Williams were the first two picks in The Times' NFL beat writers' mock draft.
Florida State’s Jameis Winston and USC’s Leonard Williams were the first two picks in The Times’ NFL beat writers’ mock draft.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press / Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)
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Of everyone who covers the NFL, it's the beat writers -- those who follow a particular franchise on a daily basis -- who know their respective teams best.

With that in mind, here’s one possible way the first round of Thursday's draft could unfold, with beat writers making the selections for the teams they cover, along with explanatory comments from those writers:

No. 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jameis Winston

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston looks to throw during the first half of the Rose Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal on Jan. 1.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston looks to throw during the first half of the Rose Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal on Jan. 1.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Jameis Winston | Quarterback | Florida State

The Buccaneers feel he's the best player in the draft, not just the best quarterback. They have chalked up his mistakes to lack of maturity.
Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times

No. 2: Tennesee Titans draft DE Leonard Williams

USC defensive end Leonard Williams hypes the crwod at the Coliseum during a game against Utah State on September 21, 2013.

USC defensive end Leonard Williams hypes the crwod at the Coliseum during a game against Utah State on September 21, 2013.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Leonard Williams | Defensive End | USC

Trading down is a good possibility for the Titans here, but Williams would be a good fit for their defense as a bookend to fellow USC Trojan Jurrell Casey.
John Glennon, The Tennessean

No 3: Jacksonville Jaguars select LB Dante Fowler Jr.

Florida defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. takes part in a drill at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 22.

Florida defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. takes part in a drill at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 22.

(Joe Robbins / Getty Images)

Joe Robbins / Getty Images

Dante Fowler Jr. | Linebacker | Florida

The Jaguars have several OK guys, but no big-time pass rusher or franchise-type defensive player.
Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union

No 4. Oakland Raiders draft WR Kevin White

West Virginia receiver Kevin White sprints past Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand for a touchdown during a game Sept. 13.

West Virginia receiver Kevin White sprints past Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand for a touchdown during a game Sept. 13.

(Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Kevin White | Wide Reciever | West Virginia

Even though there's no consensus on who's the best receiver in this class, the Raiders would lean toward the bigger White over Amari Cooper.
Vic Tafur, San Francisco Chronicle

No 5. Washington Redskins take DE Shane Ray

Defensive end Shane Ray takes part in an agility drill during Missouri's pro day on March 19.

Defensive end Shane Ray takes part in an agility drill during Missouri’s pro day on March 19.

(L.G. Patterson / Associated Press)

L.G. Patterson / Associated Press

Shane Ray | Defensive End | Missouri

I think the Redskins trade down here if [Florida linebacker Dante] Fowler isn't available. If they stay, they need pass rush help, and Ray is the most NFL-ready.
Zac Boyer, Washington Times

No. 6: New York Jets draft QB Marcus Mariota

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota runs for a 23-yard touchdown against Florida State during the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota runs for a 23-yard touchdown against Florida State during the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

(Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

Marcus Mariota | Quarterback | Oregon

Two words: Geno Smith. The Jets would be happy if Mariota fell to six.
Rich Cimini, ESPN New York

No. 7: Chicago Bears draft WR Amari Cooper

Alabama receiver Amari Cooper catches a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Sims during the first quarter of the Iron Bowl against Auburn on Nov. 29.

Alabama receiver Amari Cooper catches a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Sims during the first quarter of the Iron Bowl against Auburn on Nov. 29.

(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Amari Cooper | Wide Reciever | Alabama

Bears receivers coach Mike Groh loves Cooper and was Alabama's receivers coach when Cooper was there.
Rich Campbell, Chicago Tribune

No. 8: Atlanta Falcons select LB Vic Beasley

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley stretches before drills at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley stretches before drills at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Vic Beasley | Linebacker | Clemson

Beasley is the best pure edge rusher in the draft, a guy who can make an impact on both passing and rushing downs.
D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

No. 9: New York Giants draft OT Ereck Flowers

Miami offensive lineman Ereck Flowers runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 20.

Miami offensive lineman Ereck Flowers runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 20.

(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Ereck Flowers | Offensive Tackle | Miami

After talking about rebuilding their offensive line for years, the Giants can't pass on this massive tackle. They need to protect Eli Manning.
Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News

No. 10: St. Louis Rams select OT Andrus Peat

Offensive lineman Andrus Peat participates in a drill during Stanford's pro day on March 19.

Offensive lineman Andrus Peat participates in a drill during Stanford’s pro day on March 19.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

Andrus Peat | Offensive Tackle | Stanford

The Rams have a help-wanted sign on three offensive line jobs. Peat is a big, athletic guy who could step in right away.
Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

No. 11: Minnesota Vikings draft OT Brandon Scherff

Missouri offensive lineman Brandon Scherff looks on during a stoppage in play in the third quarter of a game against Wisconsin on November 2, 2013.

Missouri offensive lineman Brandon Scherff looks on during a stoppage in play in the third quarter of a game against Wisconsin on November 2, 2013.

(Matthew Holst / Getty Images)

Matthew Holst / Getty Images

Brandon Scherff | Offensive Tackle | Iowa

The biggest hole on the roster is at left guard. Scherff could play there immediately, and eventually could wind up at left tackle.
Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune

No. 12: Cleveland Browns select WR DeVante Parker

Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker catches a pass during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 21.

Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker catches a pass during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 21.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

DeVante Parker | Wide Receiver | Louisville

With Josh Gordon suspended, the Browns could use a tall, rangy deep threat like the 6-3 Parker.
Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer

No. 13: New Orleans Saints pick DT Danny Shelton

Washington defensive lineman Danny Shelton smiles during a break between drills at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

Washington defensive lineman Danny Shelton smiles during a break between drills at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Danny Shelton | Defensive Tackle | Washington

The Saints would like an edge rusher, but Shelton would help solidify the front line alongside Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan.
Larry Holder, New Orleans Times-Picayune

No. 14: Miami Dolphins draft RB Todd Gurley

Georgia running back Todd Gurley splits between South Carolina defenders during the second half of a game on September 7, 2013.

Georgia running back Todd Gurley splits between South Carolina defenders during the second half of a game on September 7, 2013.

(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Todd Gurley | Running Back | Georgia

The Dolphins were second in the league in yards per attempt last season, but couldn't run when defenses stacked the box.
Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

No. 15: San Francisco 49ers select CB Trae Waynes

Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes intercepts a pass in front of Stanford receiver Michael Rector during the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2014.

Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes intercepts a pass in front of Stanford receiver Michael Rector during the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2014.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Trae Waynes | Cornerback | Michigan State

Waynes is an excellent press corner who would be projected to start right away. He might not be the all-around athlete that Marcus Peters is, but he doesn't have the off-the-field baggage, either.
Matt Barrows, Sacramento Bee

No 16: Houston Texans pick DE Alvin Dupree

Kentucky defensive end Alvin Dupree tackles Tennessee reciever Josh Malone during a game Nov. 15.

Kentucky defensive end Alvin Dupree tackles Tennessee reciever Josh Malone during a game Nov. 15.

(Wade Payne / Associated Press)

Wade Payne / Associated Press

Alvin "Bud" Dupree | Defensive End | Kentucky

The Texans still need help applying heat to quarterbacks, even though they've used their top pick on a pass rusher in three of the past four drafts.
John McClain, Houston Chronicle

No. 17: San Diego Chargers take DT Arik Armstead

Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Arik Armstead | Defensive Tackle | Oregon

San Diego can go a number of ways if it stays at 17 -- including pass rusher and running back -- but Armstead fortifies the Chargers' defensive line and could start opposite Corey Liuget.
Michael Gehlken, U-T San Diego

No. 18: Kansas City Chiefs draft CB Kevin Johnson

Wake Forest defensive back Kevin Johnson catches a ball during a drill at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 23.

Wake Forest defensive back Kevin Johnson catches a ball during a drill at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 23.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Kevin Johnson | Cornerback | Wake Forest

The Chiefs are running short on corners, with Sean Smith being the only established player at the position -- and Smith is heading into the final year of his contract.
Adam Teicher, ESPN.com

No. 19: Cleveland Browns select DT Malcom Brown

Texas defensive lineman Malcom Brown warms up for the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

Texas defensive lineman Malcom Brown warms up for the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 22.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Malcom Brown | Defensive End | Texas

Mike Pettine has to do something about the 32nd-ranked run defense. He wants players to 'play like Browns,' and who better to do that than a guy named Brown?
Tony Grossi, ESPNCleveland.com

No. 20: Philadelphia Eagles draft CB Byron Jones

Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones wamrs up before a game against Stony Brook on Sept. 6.

Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones wamrs up before a game against Stony Brook on Sept. 6.

(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

Byron Jones | Cornerback | Connecticut

Jones is an athletic press corner who should start from Day 1. He could be a fit to play opposite the newly acquired Byron Maxwell.
Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer

No. 21: Cincinnati Bengals pick OT La'El Collins

LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 20.

LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 20.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

La'el Collins | Offensive Tackle | LSU

Andrew Whitworth will turn 34 this season, and Collins projects as a longterm replacement at left tackle. He also happens to be best friends with Bengals running back Jeremy Hill.
Paul Dehner, Cincinnati Enquirer

No. 22: Pittsburgh Steelers select DE Randy Gregory

Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory revealed he had failed a drug test for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine.

Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory revealed he had failed a drug test for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine.

(Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

Nati Harnik / Associated Press

Randy Gregory | Defensive End | Nebraska

The Steelers are desperate for players who can rush the passer. At 37, the re-signed James Harrison might be the team's best outside linebacker.
Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No. 23: Detroit Lions take OT Cameron Erving

Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher grabs the helmet of offensive lineman Cameron Erving during a game against Florida on November 30, 2013.

Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher grabs the helmet of offensive lineman Cameron Erving during a game against Florida on November 30, 2013.

(Sam Greenwood / Getty Images)

Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Cameron Erving | Offensive Tackle | Florida State

The Lions have too many holes on the offensive line to pass up a player who's skilled enough to play any of the five positions up front.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

No. 24: Arizona Cardinals select RB Melvin Gordon

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon runs a receiving drill during the Badgers' pro day on March 11.

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon runs a receiving drill during the Badgers’ pro day on March 11.

(John Hart / Associated Press)

John Hart / Associated Press

Melvin Gordon | Running Back | Wisconsin

The Cardinals were 31st in yards per game last season, and last in yards per carry. Gordon could help there as a complement to Andre Ellington.
Kent Somers, Arizona Republic

No. 25: Carolina Panthers take OT D.J. Humphries

Florida offensive lineman D.J. Humphries runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 20.

Florida offensive lineman D.J. Humphries runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 20.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

D.J. Humphries | Offensive Tackle | Florida

The Panthers desperately need help protecting Cam Newton. Humphries, who played high school football in Charlotte, would be a fit.
Joe Person, Charlotte Observer

No. 26: Baltimore Ravens pick WR Breshad Perriman

Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman makes his way to the interview room at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 19.

Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman makes his way to the interview room at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 19.

(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Breshad Perriman | Wide Receiver | Central Florida

After losing Torrey Smith to San Francisco, the Ravens need an influx of speed outside. The son of former NFL receiver Brett Perriman has a great ability to stretch the field.
Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun

No. 27: Dallas Cowboys draft CB Marcus Peters

Washington defensive back Marcus Peters runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 23.

Washington defensive back Marcus Peters runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 23.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Marcus Peters | Cornerback | Washington

The Cowboys need help at cornerback, and many people believe Peters is the best all-around corner in this class. They feel they can deal with his off-the-field issues.
Clarence Hill, Ft. Worth Star Telegram

No. 28: Denver Broncos select DT Jordan Phillips

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips works out for NFL scouts during Oklahoma's pro day on March 11.

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips works out for NFL scouts during Oklahoma’s pro day on March 11.

(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Jordan Phillips | Defensive Tackle | Oklahoma

With defensive tackle Terrance Knighton now in Washington, the Broncos will look to fill that vacancy. They could also use help on the offensive line.
Mike Klis, Denver Post

No. 29: Indianapolis Colts pick SS Landon Collins

Alabama defensive back Landon Collins runs a drill during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 23.

Alabama defensive back Landon Collins runs a drill during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 23.

(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Landon Collins | Safety | Alabama

GM Ryan Grigson addresses his biggest need. It's the thinnest position, with the only proven player being 34-year-old Mike Adams. Collins is widely viewed as the best safety in the draft.
Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

No. 30: Green Bay Packers take LB Eric Kendricks

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks looks over the Utah offense during the second half of a game on Oct. 4.

UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks looks over the Utah offense during the second half of a game on Oct. 4.

(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

Alex Gallardo / Associated Press

Eric Kendricks | Linebacker | UCLA

The top cornerbacks are gone in this mock, so the Packers will turn their attention to another area of need. With A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones gone, the Butkus Award winner can make an immediate impact.
Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette

No. 31: New Orleans Saints select WR Jaelen Strong

Arizona State receiver Jaelen Strong makes a catch in front of Bruins defensive back Priest Willis during the second quarter of a game on Sept. 25.

Arizona State receiver Jaelen Strong makes a catch in front of Bruins defensive back Priest Willis during the second quarter of a game on Sept. 25.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Jaelen Strong | Wide Receiver | Arizona State

The Saints still need defense but trading Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills has created a need for an offensive playmaker. Strong could eventually replace Marques Colston.
Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Times-Picayune

No. 32: New England Patriots draft DT Eddie Goldman

Florida State defensive ends Eddie Goldman (90) and Mario Edwards Jr. rush Oklahoma State offensive tackle Daniel Koenig during a game on Aug. 30.

Florida State defensive ends Eddie Goldman (90) and Mario Edwards Jr. rush Oklahoma State offensive tackle Daniel Koenig during a game on Aug. 30.

(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Eddie Goldman | Defensive Tackle | Florida State

Vince Wilfork is in Houston, and, if they don't trade down, the Patriots might look to fill that vacancy.
Ben Volin, Boston Globe

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