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NFL

NFL Draft Day Props & Draft Predictions

The NFL Draft is Hours Away

 

For months, we’ve watched Golf, Major League Baseball, European Soccer, the Olympics, and the NBA Playoffs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite quench our thirst for the sport most of us enjoy most. Football is finally back, as the NFL Draft will set us up for an offseason of intrigue and anticipation for the season (unless you’re a Falcons fan).

DraftKings has a wide array of props in the NFL Draft for us to choose from. You can pick any NFL team’s position to draft in the first round, as well as “first player selected by position”. There’s also an option for parlays (mostly specials but all very different from each other). All that being said, it’s going to be a wild draft this year. For the first time in a long time, there have been a lack of consensus Top 10 or Top 5 for this draft.

In this article, we are going to go through some draft props for draft position of specific players and then transition into a conservative, needs-based mock draft.

Trends and Notes to Focus On

Every year, we see different trends in the first round in drafts. Historically, we have seen QBs get overdrafted, WRs go underdrafted, and RBs slipping further and further down draft boards. Over the last few seasons, we’ve also seen LBs slip in value in the free agent market and WRs explode in the free agent market.

Most of these changes with draft position value have changed as a result of two things: Scheme changes across the league (increasing WR usage/volume & decreasing usage and effectiveness of LBs and RBs) and the advanced route running among WRs coming out of college. Nowadays, we are seeing WRs coming into the league and asserting themselves in Pro Bowl conversations early in their rookie seasons.

When it comes to value (particularly rookie contract value vs veteran WR contract value), the gap is so big, organizations are going to start realizing just how valuable a WR on a rookie contract can be. Think about the WRs over the past few seasons (AJ Brown, DK Metcalf, Jamar Chase, Ceedee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins, Dionte Johnson, Hunter Renfrow, Michael Pittman Jr, Elijah Moore, Deebo Samuel, Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Terry McLaurin, and Amon Ra St Brown).

In years prior, it typically takes WRs a few years to get acclimated and become effective/useful players in the NFL. Now, guys are immediately having a big impact in their rookie year. Prior to 2019, 1.7 Rookie WRs per season finished inside the top 25 of fantasy points (decent measure to reflect production). Since 2019, that’s at 3.3 Rookie WRs finishing inside the top 25. It’s not an anomaly at this point. Pay attention to the WRs in this year’s draft. WR depth has become critical in the NFL and their value is still rising.

 

Prop Picks

 

Trevor Penning Over 16.5 at +135

Penning is a great fit for a run-heavy scheme, but he suffers in pass protection, particularly with a small sample from the Senior Bowl practices. As great as he profiles, his competition at the FCS level was weak. With Penning being somewhere between the 4th and 7th best tackle prospects out there, the idea he is going prior to pick 17 would be difficult to fathom.

 

Bernhard Raimann Under 37.5 at +155

Raimann is the converted tight end who finished the season as the nation’s top graded tackle by PFF. Considering he was a tight end just two years ago, it’s very surprising to see how rapidly he adjusted. With such raw talent at the position and great size at the position, Raimann should be moving up most draft boards prior to draft time. He’s currently the 4th rated Tackle by PFF.

 

Andrew Booth Over 29.5 at -195

You may want to include this one in a parlay to better your odds, but Booth has had sports hernia issues all throughout college. It’s a high-risk injury unpredictable for both flare-ups and return times. Though Booth is extremely talented, he’s likely a second round gamble and not the type of risk you’d want with a team’s first pick.

 

George Pickens Under 36.5 at +110

Pickens has a high ceiling as a receiver and could easily develop into a valuable 1 or 2 option for an NFL team. At nearly 6’4, Pickens showed out as both a Freshman and during the CFP last year. With the emergence of Tee Higgins (Pickens’ closest comp) in the NFL, Pickens should generate enough hype from owners and GMs who saw a rookie WR (Chase) carry the Bengals offense to a Super Bowl last season. A line of 36.5 seems like easy money.

 

Round 1 Prediction

  1. Jaguars – Travon Walker (DE)

Walker was a fringe 1st round pick a few months ago, but his combine and unusual interest from the Jags has catapulted him into now being the Vegas favorite (despite the news today the Jags want to trade back).

  1. Lions – Aidan Hutchinson (DE)

This guy has a combination of measurables and instincts that would normally make him a top pick candidate, but since the Jags are at the top, they’ll obviously go elsewhere (don’t get me started with the Christian Kirk contract or Travis Etienne pick), leaving Hutchinson for the Lions at 2.

  1. Texans – Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE)

The Texans aren’t strong at any particular position. Kayvon is a tremendous talent who can add some potency at edge for a bad defense.

  1. Jets – Derek Stingley Jr (CB)

Stingley will add help for a Jets team run by a defense-minded coach, in a division loaded with receiver talent (minus the Patriots). Sauce Gardner could also go here (FYI).

  1. Giants – Charles Cross (T)

Last season, we expected the Giants to go with an offensive lineman to help both Daniel Jones develop and give Saquan some breathing room out of the backfield. They drafted Kadarius Toney instead. Let’s hope they don’t mess this up again.

  1. Panthers – Malik Willis (QB)

With all the hesitancy to trade for Baker Mayfield, it seems like things are lining-up for the Panthers to take Willis here. The clock is ticking for the Panthers staff and they need help now. With the Head Coach likely on the hot seat after this season, he needs this pick to have a big impact.

  1. Giants – Jermaine Johnson (DE)

The Giants are in need of help at edge rusher and Jermaine Johnson has been climbing draft boards in recent weeks. After addressing the offensive line at pick 5, the Giants may balance things out at pick 7. They are in dire need of fixing the trenches.

  1. Chiefs (via trade of picks 29,30 and future 1st to Falcons) – Garrett Wilson (WR)

With Willis gone, the Falcons shift to plan B and trade-out of this spot to the Chiefs. Wilson fills the Tyreek Hill void and gives the Chiefs a solid, NFL-ready WR. Drake London as a target man makes less sense for the Chiefs here, so we opted to go with Wilson, who could be more scheme-versatile.

  1. Seahawks – Sauce Gardner (CB)

It’s an obvious and easy pick for the Seahawks at this point. We may look back on the draft years down the road and ask ourselves how he fell this far. If the Jets or Giants somehow pass on him, the Seahawks are absolutely taking him here.

  1. Jets – Drake London (WR)

Drake London may have the highest ceiling in this draft for any WR. Most comp him to Mike Evans, and with the lack of good protection for Wilson, chucking it up to London makes this an ideal pick for the Jets.

  1. Commanders – Nakobe Dean (LB)

Dean gives the Commanders (Weird, right?) some much-needed help at the second level of the defense. Last season, the defensive metrics slipped for them and Dean can and should help them get closer to their 2020 defensive form.

  1. Vikings – Trent McDuffie (CB)

It’s very possible the Vikings go edge here, but the Vikings also have a need at corner, so he makes perfect sense here. McDuffie should be able to serve the Vikings immediately as a starter outside.

  1. Texans – Jameson Williams (WR)

Williams may not be ready until a few weeks into the season, but the Texans have no pressure to win anytime soon. He has tremendous upside and speed, but he is a bit of a body-catcher. With Williams, the Texans would drastically improve their WR core.

  1. Ravens – Jordan Davis (DI)

The interior of the defense has always been a strong area for the Ravens. With Davis here, the Ravens add potency and depth to their defensive line in a division with a lot of offensive firepower. Davis is a major disruptor in the middle.

  1. Eagles – Kyle Hamilton (S)

In other years, Hamilton may have been a top 5 pick. However, his poor combine and the lack of need at the position amongst teams close to the top pushes Hamilton way down to 15 here.

  1. Saints – Evan Neal (T)

Neal fulfills a big need at Tackle for the Saints. Some debate may exist as to whether they go WR here or at pick 19. We like Neal here because the Chargers are more in need of help at Right Tackle and could take him next.

  1. Chargers – Chris Olave (WR)

With Neal gone, the drop at Tackle is considerable in the eyes of most evaluators (it really probably isn’t). The Chargers have two great WRs already, but Olave is a slim speedster with good route running ability who can help them win now. His ceiling may not be high and his YAC ability is somehow not very good, but he’s NFL ready and should be an early contributor.

  1. Eagles – Daxton Hill (CB)

Daxton Hill might not be the guy the Eagles hoped for at this spot, but they need a lot of help at corner and he makes sense here from a needs perspective.

It’s very possible the Chargers take McDuffie instead of Olave to solidify their new-look secondary, but the Eagles also have a need at corner, so he makes perfect sense here.

  1. Saints – Treylon Burks (WR)

Burks has been a polarizing prospect. He’s the best YAC guy in the draft but showed poorly for top-end speed at the Combine. His route running needs work and he could be slow to find success in the NFL, but Burks fills a big need for the Saints and gives Jameis a nice complimentary guy to Michael Thomas.

  1. Steelers – Kenny Pickett (QB)

You can make a case for 30 other guys in this spot. Pickett could easily fall to the second or even third round. However, the Steelers need help at QB more than anywhere else. Look for Jordan Davis here or an offensive lineman instead.

  1. Patriots – George Pickens (WR)

Pickens wouldn’t be the ideal candidate here for the Pats, but options would be running thin and they have a dire need to fill at the position. Pickens offers a lot of upside and gives the Pats a solid boost on offense.

  1. Packers – Bernhard Raimann (T)

Raimann is interesting. He was a tight end until a couple years ago and he has developed rapidly and tremendously since making the switch to tackle. I find it hard to believe he is sliding down in some mocks so much.

  1. Cardinals – Zion Johnson (G)

Zion is a guard with good size and athleticism who has positional versatility along the line. He could really help Kyler avoid that late season wear and tear we’ve grown too accustomed to seeing.

  1. Cowboys – Tyler Smith – (T)

If this mock plays-out, the Cowboys’ urge to go receiver will be thwarted by the run of WRs ending with the Patriots. Reloading on offensive line should help get the most out of the Cowboys’ offense and help to preserve Dak.

  1. Bills – Devonte Wyatt (DI)

Wyatt slips down to the Bills in what appears to be a gift for their defense. The Bills had issues stopping the run and getting interior pressure and Wyatt helps alleviate both.

  1. Titans – George Karlaftis (DE)

Karlaftis lacks in the height department but had three years of amazing production at Purdue. He’s only 6’2 but put up impressive numbers at the combine. He’s a versatile edge defender and should be a day 1 starter for the Titans.

  1. Buccaneers – Tyler Linderbaum (C)

Linderbaum is Pro Football Focus’ top-graded center since they began grading them in 2014. He fills a void here for the Bucs and serves as a critical piece to keeping Tom Brady protected in that potent offense.

  1. Packers – Kenyon Green (G)

With WR already handled, they Packers can go guard here. Green is a dynamic lineman, starting at every line position in 2021 for Texas A&M except center.

  1. Falcons – Kaiir Elam (CB)

The Falcons need help at corner and Elam should be able to cover a wide array of opposing WRs. This trade-back also gives them good positioning to take a QB with their next pick, prior to the expected early second round run on QBs.

  1. Falcons – Desmond Ridder (QB)

Every year, teams get a little too excited at the possibility of hitting on the most important position in football. With this trade-back, the Falcons go two for one on filling needs and give their fans a small shot of hope for the otherwise abysmal season outlook.

  1. Bengals – Nick Bonitto (DE)

Bonitto is climbing up draft boards as we speak. With a weak spot at LE, the Bengals could go with Bonitto here (since the Guard quality in this range is so bad).

  1. Lions – Lewis Cine (S)

Cine has been moving up boards lately, and the Lions could really use him at safety here. With Hutchinson already on-board, the Lions can take another big step in the right direction to re-vamp the defense here.

 

Be sure to check out the live betting options for every day of the draft on DraftKings Sportsbook!

 

 

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