The NFL season finished a couple of months ago with the Buccaneers overwhelming the Chiefs in the Superbowl, free agency has been and gone with the Patriots spending a LOT of cash on strengthening their weak roster and teams have spent the last few months getting their draft boards in order.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had the worst record last season, so as a result get the first pick in this year's draft. Can you imagine a league where they strive for parity?! What a crazy idea. Anyway… Mock Drafts are popping up everywhere as people try and guess what areas teams need to improve and which players they're likely to pick. They're always worth a look as long as you take them with a pinch of salt, it's all well and good having a consensus pick for a team, but very little is guaranteed in the draft so keep an eye on Beat writers from teams who usually have a better idea of what's happening than the rest of us.
The top 10 picks are as follows (I'll put my expected picks next to it);
- Jacksonville Jaguars (Lawrence)
- NY Jets (Wilson)
- SF 49ers (traded up) – (Fields)
- Atlanta Falcons – (Kyle Pitts/Trade back for someone wanting that 4th QB)
- Cincinnati Bengals (Ja'Marr Chase)
- Miami Dolphins (Sewell/Smith/Waddle)
- Detroit Lions (Smith/Waddle)
- Carolina Panthers (Sewell if available, Slater)
- Denver Broncos (Trade back/Parsons/Lance)
- Dallas Cowboys (Surtain)
The odds on this are terrible, so not worth even really thinking about. It seems that Trevor Lawrence is a banker. Prices range from a ridiculous 1/200 on Paddypower to a slightly less ridiculous 1/66 on Skybet.
This seems like it will be Zach Wilson to the Jets who have a new head coach who's going to bring in a QB to lead them into the future. I'm not entirely sure why he's so locked in when a lot of the big boards I've read have Justin Fields as the 2nd best prospect in the draft. Wilson is 1/12 best priced at Boylesports, but this “certainty” means Justin Fields is available at 20/1 on Paddypower should you want to have a punt.
A couple of ways to play this, either third pick straight up, or exact order of the top 3. The 49ers paid a lot to move up to the 3rd pick in the draft, so they're going to take a QB (you don't give up that capital for another position) – The rumour a few weeks ago was that they were taking Mac Jones from Alabama, but sense has prevailed and the common thought now seems to be Fields. Jones was as short as 1/3 at points, but Fields is now the favourites for their pick at 8/11 in Skybet, but a nicer 7/4 on Bet365. Skybet have Jones at 5/4, so if you wanted a less risky, but poorer returns bet you could back both and make a profit. – I won't be doing that, the news has been muddled on them and it's not worth the risk. Personally, I think it will be Fields.
This is where things get funky. The Falcons will have their pick of the players and the most frequently suggested has been Kyle Pitts who's at 1/1 on Redzone. IF they keep their pick then it's probably Pitts or Sewell. But there's a lot of chatter about them trading back out of this pick. I think it all depends on who the 49ers pick. If Fields is still on the board then there's going to be a good deal coming the Falcons way from someone wanting their QB of the future, if Fields is gone then maybe not such a deal. – You can get 20/1 on them strengthening the OL by taking Sewell at both PP and Skybet. I don't think it will be him, but that is higher odds than I'd have expected for him.
So. I'm a Bengals fan, and as such obviously know a fair bit more about them than any of the other teams… There is going to be a lot of mockeries aimed towards the Bengals when they make this pick… I am fairly convinced now that they're going to re-unite Ja'marr Chase with his college QB Joe Burrow. The odds have dropped on him, but plus money is still available with him at 6/4 on William Hill. Offensive lineman Penei Sewell is still the favourite for this pick, the best I can see is 10/13. HOWEVER, you can get him to be picked in the top 5 at 31/20 on William Hill (under 5.5) which is obviously better. So, in fairness, you could hedge 6/4 on Chase and u5.5 on Sewell at 31/20.
That's the top 5 picks looked at, you've got a whole ton of O/U lines available on certain players now, as well as “total of a position group” taken in round 1, and of course, a load of Request-a-bets to go through. I'll give a mention of my favourites.
Elijah Moore draft position o29.5 – 20/23 (WillHill)
I don't think he'll be going in the first round, it's a deep class for WR with the top 3 (Chase, Waddle, Smith) a fair way ahead before a group of guys (Moore, Bateman, Marshall) – Ravens the danger here as they look to add receiving talent around Lamar Jackson.
Micah Parsons draft position u12.5 – 5/4 (WillHill)
Happy to get plus money on someone who's been mocked to the Broncos, Giants, and the Eagles in drafts I've read. All picking in the top 12.
1st WR: Ja'Marr Chase, 1st LB: Micah Parsons, 1st CB: Patrick Surtain – 13/8 (Skybet)
There's a few similar to this at similar prices, I believe Chase and Parsons are locked in, Surtain a little riskier, but still up around 80% likeliness in my mind.
If you want some bigger priced punts then
Jaylen Waddle first WR – 8/1 (Paddypower)
I don't think he will be, but I didn't think Henry Ruggs would be last year at 9/2. Speed kills in the NFL and Waddle has usurped Smith as the consensus WR2 now.
Najee Harris to be drafted by the Steelers – 7/1 (WillHill #Yourodds)
Lots of talk about the Steelers taking a running back with their first pick at 24 and Harris is the consensus #1 pick, happy to get these odds for him.
First 4 Picks to be QBs, Ja'Marr Chase to the Bengals, Devonta Smith to the Dolphins & Penei Sewell to the Lions – 40/1 (Skybet)
I can see the logic here, would be the Falcons trading down, Dolphins pairing Tua with a ‘Bama WR and then Sewell dropping to a team who need help in a lot of places. Would also mean Pitts dropping which would be crazy.
Penei Sewell to be chosen by the Falcons – 20/1 (PP/Skybet)
Not something I expect, however they do need OL and I think it's over-priced for the chance of it happening.
Fortunately for myself as a Bengals fan I'll only have to be awake for an hour or so on Draft night (Next Friday at 1 am -ish) so won't have to wait long to see who we pick.
Best picks from me?
- Elijah Moore over 29.5 – 20/23 (WillHill)
- Bengals to draft Ja'marr Chase – 6/4 (WillHill #YourOdds)
- Najee Harris to be drafted by the Steelers – 7/1 (WillHill #Yourodds)