I keep hearing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in my head every time I close my eyes. Why? Because the NFL draft in this Thursday. And when I wake up on draft day, it feels like Christmas morning. I absolutely love the NFL draft, and this year it is particularly fascinating. Terry and I had a great podcast with my Dad about it last week, but I wanted to give you my final predictions and NFL Draft bets right before the day-of.
What The Hell Is Happening At #3?
I’m so confused by this pick for so many reasons. If you ask me, Justin Fields should be the pick here and it shouldn’t even be a question. Remember this quote: Justin Fields will be a better NFL quarterback than Mac Jones and Trey Lance. Regardless of that belief, I am well aware that the 49ers seem to be picking between Jones and Lance, and it’s a conflict between head coach and scouts. So, what’s the move here?
Reports seem to suggest that Jones will be the pick. He has tickled the fancy of Kyle Shanahan, and news trends seem to imply he will get his way. I think this is a mistake. Jones had a fantastic 2020 campaign, but it was a weird season in which he played with an incredible group of skill position players and offensive line. He can’t move around in the pocket, is unathletic, and seems to have already hit his ceiling. But alas, the Niners think different. I would avoid betting on this pick due to the unpredictability. But if you’re looking for value, Fields at +550 seems reasonable.
The Offensive Linemen
I’m a fan of every O/U for top offensive linemen this draft. Penei Sewell’s is set at 6.5. Let’s be honest, the Bengals are taking him at #5. I get it, Ja’Marr Chase is awesome, and he played with Joe Burrow. But the Bengals already have weapons. They have to protect Burrow after he suffered a brutal injury in 2020. Sewell is the best OT prospect we’ve seen in a while. It is a golden opportunity. Take it. Hammer the under.
On the other hand, I am hammering the over on Rashawn Slater, which is set at 9.5. What? 9.5? Who is gonna take him other than the Bengals? The Falcons are going Pitts or trading out at #4, and whoever trades into that spot will go QB. The Dolphins, Lions, Panthers, and Broncos are targeting other players/positions. The Lions and Panthers would maybe snag Sewell if he slips, but I think they’ll go for value and pick up one of the many elite prospects that will be available. The earliest I see Slater going is to the Cowboys at 10.
Now I love the Christian Darrisaw under at 15.5. I think picks 10-15 could all be looking for a lineman. Think about it. Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Chargers, Vikings, Pats. All of these teams could use an OT and Darrisaw is a great prospect that has been climbing boards in recent weeks. I’ve seen a ton of mocks that have Darrisaw in this range, and that’s because it makes so much sense. I love this under, smash hit.
The Defensive Studs
This draft is loaded with offensive talent, but there is also some serious talent on the defensive side of the ball. Let’s start with Patrick Surtain II, who has recently been overshadowed by a SpaceX level skyrocket from Jaycee Horn. I still think Surtain is the best CB in the class. He has all the measurables and excels in press coverage. He’s a modern day lockdown corner. At an O/U of 10.5, I struggle to find the confidence to place a bet. I do think the Cowboys will take him at 10, but they could also trade out. I would avoid this O/U with my NFL Draft bets.
Of all the defensive ends, my favorite O/U is Gregory Rousseau at 28. Jaelan Phillips is at 18.5, and Kwity Paye is at 17.5. From my perspective, these three guys are pretty even on boards, and could go in essentially any order. So the fact that you can get Rousseau at 10 spots below the other top end prospects in O/U feels like a bargain. Pass-rushers in the draft are like Oreos at an elementary school lunch table. Invaluable. There are plenty of teams in the top 27 picks that need a DE, and I expect Rousseau’s impressive measurables to catch the eye of at least one of those teams. I’ve got the under.
“DeVonta Smith Is Too Small”
Stop it. Yes, DeVonta Smith isn’t as big or strong as the ideal NFL receiver. But who cares? This guys is an absolute stud. Ja’Marr Chase is the better prospect, sure. But Smith is still elite in his own right and will make an immediate impact in the NFL. His O/U is at 11.5, and I think the over is the play for your NFL Draft bets. I know I just praised him like a Greek God, but the consensus seems to be that Chase and Jaylen Waddle will go before him. The Eagles seem like a great fit for Smith at 12, and that’s what I expect to happen.
I also like the Jaylen Waddle over at 10.5 because I think the Giants are the earliest he goes. I think the Dolphins take Chase, and the only other team that will look for a receiver is the Lions. But I think they have bigger needs all around the board (particularly on defense) and will address those needs. I’m hammering the over on Chase at 5.5, because I think the Bengals will go with Sewell. As a Bengals fan, I hope this is what happens, and I think it will. It’s the right choice. Happy draft week!