Finding Value in the NFL Draft Props Market

Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Michigan Wolverines. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

The Super Bowl has come and gone, so now the next big football event on the calendar is the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28th. Below we discuss who will be the No. 1 overall pick as well as what the upper-echelon teams will need to put them over the top next season.

Who Will Go No. 1?

Below we will look at the current NFL odds on which college player will go first in the 2022 NFL Draft. But we should note that much can happen between now and then, especially with the NFL Combine still ahead of us.

But taking into consideration what we know now and the fact that, barring a trade, the Jacksonville Jaguars will have the top pick in the draft, we have to zero in on what they need. Well, that’s like asking a machine gun victim which wound he’d prefer patched first. The Jags have needs all over the field so it would be logical that they take the best player in the draft, regardless of position.

Let’s look at their options and who we believe will be the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

*Odds courtesy of BetMGM

  • DE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) +155
  • OT Evan Neal (Alabama) +175
  • DE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon) +325
  • OT Ikem Ekwonu (NC State) +400
  • QB Malik Willis (Liberty) +2000
  • OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State) +3000
  • QB Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh) +3000
  • QB Sam Howell (North Carolina) +5000
  • QB Matt Corral (Ole Miss) +6600
  • S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame) +800

Arguably the top two players coming out of college football, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux, are edge rushers. And guess at which position the Jags might be the most solid? You guessed it – defensive end. But like starting pitching in baseball, you can never have enough elite pass rushers and sack-masters in football.

Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is being mocked as the top choice by many of the national pundits, including ESPN’s Todd McShay. The 6’6”, 270 pounds Wolverine is a chaos-maker in the trenches as evidenced by his 14 sacks (3rd in the nation) and 66 pressures (2nd in the nation), along with two forced fumbles.

If the Jags decide to eschew a pass rusher, then they will probably opt to beef up the protection for Trevor Lawrence with either Alabama’s Evan Neal or NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu. However, what they should do is trade out of the top spot and collect more draft picks this year and next. They’ll need them.

NFL Pick: Aidan Hutchinson +155 with BetMGM

Fab Four Most Glaring Needs

L.A. Rams (Round 3 – 104): If Aaron Donald retires the Rams have lost an indispensable piece of their defense and one that won’t be filled by any rookie at the end of the third round, which is where their first pick resides after trading away their first and second-round picks for proven talent.

Therefore, they might be better off trying to fill the void at left tackle when Andrew Whitworth decides to hang up his cleats either now or next season. Louisiana’s Max Mitchell would be a steal at this spot if they can get him.

Cincinnati Bengals (Round 1 – 31): Joe Cool needs protection and unless there is a player on the board at No. 31 that brings more value than a mountain with feet like Northern Iowa’s 6’7” behemoth, Trevor Penning, then it is a pretty good bet the Cats will draft an offensive tackle, and Penning would be the right choice if he’s still around.

Kansas City Chiefs (Round 1 – 30): The Chiefs need help in their secondary and Auburn’s top cornerback, Roger McCreary seems to be the natural fit here. However, if the Chiefs decide they need a legitimate third offensive threat for Mahomes then they could do worse than Ohio State’s Chris Olave whose 13 touchdown receptions over his 65 catches were tops in the nation last year.

San Francisco 49ers (Round 2 – 61): The 49ers traded their first-round pick this year to Miami and will therefore get their first bite at the apple at the end of the second round. The Niners are a well-balanced team with no glaring deficiencies. But, like every team, there is always room for improvement and if we had to guess, we would say that San Francisco will be looking to bolster their secondary with a cornerback like Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant or South Carolina safety R.J. Roderick.

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