The 2020 NFL Draft is unique for a lot of different reasons, but one of the non-coronavirus-related reasons is that there are pockets of players expected to be drafted around the same time.
Per several mock drafts that are out there, a run on wide receivers will start in the early teens and we could see Henry Ruggs III, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Justin Jefferson all taken in the span of 5-10 picks. A run of quarterbacks at the top of the first round with up to three in the first six picks and maybe four in the first 10 picks is also fairly unique.
Linemen could also go in bunches, too. Aside from Chase Young, we’ll likely see a pocket of defensive linemen, some labeled as “Edge”, go in short order with guys like K’Lavon Chaisson, Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw, and AJ Epenesa possibly getting selected in the span of 6-8 picks.
Offensive linemen are also grouped like that this year. Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas are all in the mix to be the first offensive lineman picked in the 2020 NFL Draft. Recently it seems like Thomas has fallen pretty clearly behind the others, but the fact of the matter is that we don’t know exactly what these teams are thinking. We also don’t know how trades will shape the first round of the draft. More specifically, how trades will shape the first 10 picks of the draft.
Some teams may not see a discernible difference between Wirfs, Wills, Becton, and Thomas and will be content with trading back to add future assets and still get one of the four linemen. Would the team trading up have a different evaluation or grade on one lineman over another and make what could be considered a surprising pick?
FIRST OFFENSIVE LINEMAN DRAFTED
Bovada lists Josh Jones at +6600, Austin Jackson at +10000, and Ezra Cleveland at +10000.
As always, you want to shop around for the best prices and these sportsbooks are going to have a litany of different lines for these things based on the theoretical hold percentages that they want to achieve or the sources that they are gleaning information from.
The only consensus across the board is that Wirfs is favored to go first. The Iowa product can play either tackle position and that versatility should do him well in terms of a pay day on April 23. What will be interesting is to see where the first lineman goes. Many believe the New York Giants are in play for an OL at #4, but they could trade the pick or fill another one of the numerous needs that they have.
The Cardinals are likely to go the offensive lineman route at #8 if they keep that pick. Is that the first spot for an OL? Will the Chargers go OL, even though some expect them to go quarterback? If so, which guy will they prefer?
To some degree, all four top contenders seem like safe picks. Wirfs comes from the Iowa offensive linemen factory and looks like a long-term starter on either side of the line. Like Wirfs, Wills can run and pass block, but he may be better-suited as a run-blocking lineman, which definitely brings the Giants at #4 into the equation because we know Dave Gettleman is living in 2002 and wants to run the ball a lot.
Mekhi Becton is the wild card. We know that teams go crazy over athleticism and measurables. Becton might be the most athletic of the linemen. He is a guy that could have really benefited from more workouts and more exposure in the lead-up to the draft. He may be a little bit more of a project, though, which could force some teams to shy away from him.
Andrew Thomas looks like the odd man out in this whole equation given the odds, so he is a hard gamble to make. He may end up being the best of the four players, but it does seem like the tea leaves are suggesting that teams are more invested in Wirfs, Wills, and Becton.
From a betting standpoint, the best price on Jedrick Wills would be my dice roll because of the Giants at #4. It seems like a coin flip scenario for the Giants at 4 between Wirfs and Wills if they take a lineman. The Giants have lots of needs on defense, too. If the Giants don’t take Wills, then Wirfs is all but a lock.
If it is in fact Wirfs, look at the price differences in the above chart. That is the value in shopping around. Why take -130 or -150 when you can get plus money elsewhere? Things like that are going to help your bottom line out a lot no matter the betting market.