The biggest offseason event each year in the NFL, both in terms of TV ratings and betting action, is the draft. This year’s is held in Philadelphia for the first time since 1960 as the NFL is now moving the draft around the country. The first round is Thursday night from the City of Brotherly Love, with Rounds 2-3 on Friday and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday. Sports Interaction is offering some interesting NFL Draft props.
2017 Quarterback Draft Class Lacking?
The Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears all badly need a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately for them, they chose a bad year to have the top three picks in the draft. There isn’t considered to be a shoo-in franchise QB in the Class of 2017 like there was two years ago when Tampa Bay chose Jameis Winston at No. 1 overall or in 2012 when the Indianapolis Colts selected Andrew Luck.
You never know what can happen because it was fairly surprising that the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles traded up for the No. 1 and 2 overall picks, respectively, before last year’s draft to choose Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
That said, it would be a stunner if the Browns selected a quarterback at No. 1. They are expected to draft Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. In fact, we could see no QB chosen in the Top 5 for the first time since 2013. That was one of the worst quarterback drafts ever with the top four selections being EJ Manuel (No. 16 overall to Buffalo), Geno Smith (No. 39 to NY Jets), Mike Glennon (No. 73 to Tampa Bay) and Matt Barkley (No. 98 to Philadelphia). The Bears signed Glennon to a big free-agent deal this offseason or they might have picked a quarterback at No. 3 overall.
This year’s QB class isn’t 2013 bad, and Sports Interaction gives an over/under of 2.5 first-round quarterbacks chosen, with the over a -300 favorite. North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky has the highest grade of all the quarterbacks. The knock on Trubisky is that he only started for one year. Deshaun Watson led Clemson to the last two national championship games and was brilliant in both against terrific Alabama defenses, winning this past January’s game in the final seconds. While Watson is a proven winner and leader, the knock on him is a propensity to throw interceptions and not the strongest arm. Watson has his own thoughts on the matter.
Trubisky and Watson appear to be sure things to go in Round 1. Betting over that prop then would require one of Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes or Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer to also be selected Thursday night. Mahomes’ stock is on the rise and some have compared the big-armed Mahomes to a young Brett Favre. Kizer is on the bubble for Round 1 but more likely to go early in Round 2.
2017 NFL Draft Skill Positions Favorites
It’s a considered a good year to need a running back via the draft and a solid one for wide receivers. Both positions have an over/under of 2.5 players drafted in Round 1. The over is a -400 heavy favourite on the running backs. LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey will hear their names called on Thursday. The “swing” back for this prop should be Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. Then you have Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon, who has first-round talent but has been taken off some teams’ draft boards entirely and rightfully, because of that disturbing video of Mixon punching a woman in the face while at OU.
The over 2.5 receivers is a -490 favourite. There are three players with first-round grades from scouts: Clemson’s Mike Williams, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Washington’s John Ross. Davis holds the FBS career receiving yardage mark. Ross, meanwhile, is the fastest player in this draft after setting an NFL Combine record time of 4.22 in the 40-yard dash. The previous mark of 4.24 was set by running back Chris Johnson in 2008, and he went on to have a nice NFL career.
The over/under for offensive players chosen in Round 1 is 12.5, with the over a -200 favourite. It’s considered a great class for tight ends, but terrible for offensive linemen. Total defensive players in the first round is listed at 18.5, with the under a -140 favourite. It’s a strong class for linemen and in the secondary.
If you’re an Alabama fan, expect a busy night with an over/under of 4.5 Crimson Tide players set to be drafted in the opening round.
2017 NFL Draft Predictions
I can’t predict trades, but I believe the Top 5 will be: Texas A&M’s Garrett to Cleveland, Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas to San Francisco, LSU safety Jamal Adams to Chicago, LSU’s Fournette to Jacksonville, and Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore to Tennessee. Things get very interesting at No. 6 with the Jets, who could take a quarterback or trade down for a team looking to get Trubisky. Cleveland could be back in play there, offering its No. 12 overall pick in a package.
On the above listed props, go over on quarterbacks and receivers but under on running backs (Cook slides to early Round 2 due to off-field concerns). Over on offensive players overall and under on defensive players.