Remember Jamiroquai’s hit song, “Virtual Insanity?”
Futures made of virtual insanity now
Always seem to, be governed by this love we have
For useless, twisting, our new technology
Oh, now there is no sound for we all live underground.
In a way, it’s a perfect metaphor for the new world we’re adjusting to, especially for this year’s NFL Draft. We’re once again alone together, but for the first time since stay-at-home protections have been put in place, we finally have a major sporting event to watch and wager on.
This year’s class is all about the unknown. Who will be the second quarterback selected after LSU’s Joe Burrow? Is Tua Tagovailoa’s hip healthy enough for teams not to worry about his future? How many top-tier wide receivers will fall to the second, third or even fourth rounds because of the historical depth at the position? Will any teams have technological issues that forces them to possibly miss out on a draft pick?
Factor in all the drama, intrigue, and no other live sports on television and we will likely find ourselves submersed in the highest rated NFL Draft in our lifetimes.
The Top Three
Assuming there’s no trades, this is how the first three picks are likely to play out:
- CINCINNATI: Joe Burrow, Quarterback, Louisiana State
- WASHINGTON: Chase Young, Defensive End, Ohio State
- DETROIT: Jeffrey Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State
The Bengals get their quarterback of the future in Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner who not only set the SEC all-time single season record for most passing touchdowns and passing yards, but also the all-time single-season FBS record with 60 touchdowns, surpassing Colt Brennan’s 58 in 2006 with Hawaii.
Meanwhile, Washington takes the prohibitive highest graded player in the draft in Young, with Detroit solidifying their need at corner with Okudah after trading Darius Slay to the Eagles.
Then, things get a bit murky.The Giants are in serious need of offensive line help for second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, but multiple reports have them leaning towards several different lineman. The latest lines from DraftKings Sportsbook have Alabama’s Jedrick Wills as the current favorite at -121.
Then the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers both have needs at quarterback, but both Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert have each been rumored as potential picks for both teams. At the moment, Tagovailoa remains the favorite at DK Sportsbook as the second QB off the board.
NFL Draft Betting Picks
Even with lots of line movement from early value plays, DK Sportsbook will have tons of action available throughout the NFL Draft. Here a few of my favorite plays, values and props.
– With Tua Tagovailoa continuing to move odds as the second quarterback off the board, and Miami being the most likely team to take him at fifth overall, that likely pushes Herbert back to the Chargers at six or even perhaps into the teens. -134 isn’t a terrible price to pay when factoring in Tua’s sharp movement up draft boards.
– As for Wills, this is a play off his current DK Sportsbook odds that have him as “First Offensive Lineman Drafted” at -167. By looking at team needs, both the Giants (fourth overall) and Chargers (sixth overall) have major concerns at offensive line, and this gives betters a very reasonable (close to even) number for the projected top offensive lineman.
– This type of bet goes against what I typically believe in because I think the line is set at -200 for a reason. There are several elite level wide receivers in this year’s class and many General Managers and team Executives will want to grab their guy while they still can before the run of top-tier talent is over.
But, let’s look at this from a different perspective. One could argue that because of the amount of depth, it could force GMs into reaching for top talent at less stocked positions, knowing they could still grab a guy with a first or early second round grade outside of the first 32 picks. I think we see four receivers for sure go, with a very good chance at five. But I’m not sold on anything over that, and I think the value at +163 could very much be in play.
– Several days ago, this notion would likely have been laughed at. Jeudy, along with Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb were the highest graded receivers in the class. However, there is growing speculation that the health of Jeudy’s knee may be in question, causing a potential drop on several team’s boards ahead of Thursday. Ruggs has been rumored to the Jets at 11, the 49ers at 13, and with Ruggs’ breakaway speed and 4.27 40-yard dash time, it’s very conceivable to see him go ahead of Jeudy with strong odds in favor of the better at +180.
Pick: Tua Tagovailoa Third Overall Pick (+400 at DraftKings)
HEDGE with Jeffrey Okudah (+110)
– I still believe Okudah is the play to the Lions at #3, but there are several reports indicating they are looking to trade the pick as well. If they do trade the pick, the only two scenarios I see playing out are another team is desperate to get Okudah, or they want their opportunity to take Tua ahead of the Dolphins at #5. We indicated earlier that Tua’s stock continues to rise as both the Second QB taken as well as the second offensive player drafted, so grabbing that kind of value at 4/1 odds seems like a worthwhile risk. You can also hedge the Tua +400 pick with Okudah at plus-value as well.
– With Jeudy’s health a concern, and the Jaguars releasing longtime wide receiver Marquise Lee earlier this week, they’ll likely have their pick of whatever top-tier wide receiver they want at #9. Lamb and Jeudy have been graded nearly equally, with Lamb being the slightly better fit for Jacksonville as a playmaking option on the outside to go along with DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook in the slot. Keelan Cole is a sufficient option, but the Jags are building around second-year QB Gardner Minshew and would like to get him more useful weapons to play with.
– With Ruggs, the Jets (11) and 49ers (13) are two teams that are salivating at his breakaway speed and versatility in their respective offenses. He’s currently at -121 to be drafted ahead of 13.5, so taking a shot at either of these two teams at 8/1 and 6/1 respectively feels like an ideal spot to pounce.