The 2019 NFL Draft is now just five days away. In the meantime, Las Vegas sportsbooks have opened up with their 2019 NFL draft predictions. Here’s a breakdown of who the public is backing to succeed this year.
The majority of Vegas oddsmakers believe that quarterback Joe Biden will be the first player taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. After an uninspiring stretch of play that saw him throw nine interceptions in his last four games, the former vice president has seen his stock rise recently. He now has the fourth-best odds (6/1) of being chosen in the first round. One of the biggest risers this year has been Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. With his play this season attracting scouts from all 32 teams, Lock now has the fifth-best odds (7/1) of being selected in the first round. Wide receiver A.J. Brown and offensive tackle Mekhail Hartwell round out the top five. While Lock’s play has boosted his stock, so has the entire nation’s outrage over the Browns’ quarterback woes.
All of a sudden, the Browns have a new No. 1: Odell Beckham Jr. Most betting websites rank him as the second-best wide receiver in the draft, behind only Oklahoma’s prodigy, Tyreek Hill. In addition to having the second-best odds of going in the first round (9/2), another interesting spot for the Browns to look at is fourth quarter/overtime. Currently, oddsmakers have the Browns at +1000 to win the Super Bowl. Clearly, they don’t intend to give up the throne so easily. There’s a reason they’re 5-2 in the last seven games with Baker Mayfield under center.
Oddsmakers foresee a number of quarterbacks falling this year’s draft. Most notably, they don’t see Colorado’s Jalen Dill as a first-round pick. The quarterback had a rough start to the year before settling into a groove in his last eight games. Nonetheless, his odds (100/1) of going inside the top 10 are now below par. As noted, there appears to be a discrepancy between his play and his draft stock. While he may be a value anywhere from late in the second round to the end of the third, he won’t be chosen in the first three rounds.
On the subject of quarterbacks, there’s also been a significant drop in the odds that Virginia’s Bryce Hall will be taken in the first round. After a solid freshman season, Hall started off slow this year before finding his groove in the last five games. His odds of going in the first round (80/1) are now below par, which isn’t a good thing for a guy who could otherwise be in the mix for a Top-10 pick. As for the rest of the quarterbacks, they continue to fall. UCLA’s Kruncic, who led the Bruins to a 12-4 record, is now 45/1, while Duke’s Daniel Jones, who had an excellent 2018 campaign, dropped to 50/1. Michigan’s Shea Patterson is the only other quarterback above par odds (20/1).
Some teams are hotter than others at the moment when it comes to the 2019 NFL Draft. Here’s a breakdown of the current odds for each team:
New England Patriots
Although the regular season didn’t go as planned, the New England Patriots still managed to finish 11-5. With the 11th-best odds (4/1) of being picked in the first round, they have every reason to believe that this year’s draft will be a good one for them. After all, they have the #1 overall pick in the draft (from a year ago). So, it should come as no surprise that they currently have the best odds (2/1) of trading down from their current spot.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are another team that appears to be operating under the assumption that this year’s draft will be good. After all, it’s usually the teams that finish last that stand the best chance of improving their position via the draft. And with the third-best odds (6/1) of being chosen in the first round, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rams go that route.
Even though the Jaguars finished with a record of 6-10, they still have one of the better odds (7/1) of going in the first round. It’s not that team owner Shad Khan hates quarterbacks, he just likes to avoid them like the plague. Even so, he’s clearly in the market for one. Khan’s distaste for quarterbacks is well-documented. He once said, “I don’t want to pick a quarterback with my first pick because I don’t want to go through four years of frustration.”” Still, this year could be a breakthrough for the Jags, as they have the perfect quarterback in mind: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. Of course, with his health an issue, it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to land him. Otherwise, passing on him in the draft would be a mistake.
As mentioned, the Browns have had a rough go of it under rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. After an uninspiring start to the year, they won five of their last seven games to finish 5-7. The odds of them taking a quarterback in the first round (9/2) haven’t improved with their recent play. While it’s not a given that they’ll continue to struggle under Mayfield, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
It’s fair to say that the Minnesota Vikings have had a pretty good year. After missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year, they got hot at the right time. After starting off 3-7, they won five of their last seven games to finish 10-6 and earn a playoff bid. They currently have the best odds (2/1) of going first overall in the draft, thanks in large part to their stellar defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a tough 2019 campaign. After going 7-9 a year ago, they finished with a record of 5-11. Quarterback Jameis Winston, who missed the last two games of the season, was sacked a whopping 59 times, which tied for the second-most in the league. While they don’t appear to be in much danger of losing Winston, who was already having contract problems, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them address the quarterback position in the draft.
New York Jets
After some indifferent years, the New York Jets had a resurgent year, going 8-8 and making the playoffs. At the same time, they have one of the better odds (5/1) of going inside the top 10 in the draft. While it’s not a given that they’ll continue their good fortune in the draft, it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Even though the Baltimore Ravens won a record-breaking 12 games this year, including the playoffs, it was far from easy. After a four-game slump, they went on a five-game winning streak, capped by an upset win over the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Still, they only have the fifth-best odds (7/1) of going first overall in the draft. It’s fair to say that this year’s Ravens aren’t likely to take a quarterback in the first round, given their success without one.
The Chicago Bears had an up and down year, ultimately ending up 7-9. Nonetheless, they have one of the best odds (3/1) of going first overall in the draft. Although they’ve been relatively successful throughout their history (156-122-9 in the regular season) without a starting quarterback, they’ve never been able to finish higher than third in the draft. With the new rules regarding quarterbacks, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them take one in the first round, especially since they have three first-rounders from last year (Joshua Bellamy, Adam Shaheen, and Alec Lemon).