NFL Draft and Draft Wagers, by Jim Feist

The NFL Draft will be held on Thursday, April 23. While this is not going to be the Las Vegas experience first promised, at least we will get to see the first rounds. Following are some of my notes on the draft and draft bets that I have placed.

Let’s take a look at some wagers I have already placed for the upcoming draft.

The first wager I placed was that there will be over five-and-a-half wide receivers drafted in the first round. With a rich field of receivers this year and teams in need of this position, I feel confident that this will be a valued position and wise wager. Another area in which teams are always in dire need are on the offensive line. And with that, I also placed a wager on OVER five-and-a-half offensive lineman drafted in first round. I expect to see offensive linemen go early in this draft.

One player whose stock has dropped in the first round is Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. I believe Tua will not be drafted in the top three because of injuries that have recently plagued the signal-caller. I have placed a wager that he will go lower than number three in the draft for that reason.

The hot spot is the top pick in QB Joe Burrow of LSU. I believe Burrow will not be traded by Cincinnati, even though offers will go in their direction. Burrow is an Ohio kid and while the Bengals franchise is a mess and I do not believe he is a good fit for Cincinnati, I think he will stay there and be the number one draft choice going to the Bengals.

I see the Washington Redskins will use the second overall pick on defensive end Chase Young out of Ohio State. Washington needs help on the edge and Young will go a long way to fill a much-needed gap. The Redskins have a new head coach in Ron Rivera but there are a lot of holes to fill but I think they will take Chase Young number two in the draft.

The Miami Dolphins need a quarterback and they will probably go with Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick for a while, but they are going to have to decide moving forward. Tua has a lot of upside, but his injury issues with both the ankle and hip do not give me a lot of confidence in him. I could easily see the Dolphins taking Justin Herbert out of Oregon. He has the measurements at 6-foot-6 with a big arm and I believe he would be a good fit and I do see the Dolphins going after him. Personally, I think the Dolphins should take Herbert, but do not be surprised if Tagovailoa lands in a Dolphins’ uniform.

The New York Giants need to build that offensive line, it is a mess and no matter who the quarterback will be this year they will not succeed without a solid line in front of him. That is why I see the Giants looking to go after an offensive lineman early in the draft. Alabama’s OT Jedrick Wills looks to be the best in a great group of talented linemen. The Giants have the fourth overall pick and should get a great lineman if they go that route.

The Detroit Lions have been a losing franchise for a long time, and I am not a big fan of what HC Matt Patricia has done with the team. I do not have much confidence in his decisions, so I really have no idea what they are going to do. They could take a defensive back with their third pick, but we will see what Patricia and the team have up their collective sleeves.

Now that Philip Rivers has departed the LA Chargers, Tyrod Taylor is scheduled to be their quarterback. Taylor is efficient but he is not a star and I doubt that he will become one anytime soon. I do think they need a quarterback for the future they could also be looking at an offensive lineman to build that position. OT Jedrick Wills could be the person they look at drafting with their 6th pick, but I do think they should take a serious look at the QB’s too.

The Carolina Panthers signed QB Teddy Bridgewater in the off season and that is a big improvement in my opinion. The loss of LB Luke Kuechly to retirement was a bit of a shock that is going to be an exceedingly difficult position to fill. They will probably go for a defensive player now that they have signed Christian McCaffrey to a big contract along with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.

Switching gears for a minute let us look at a couple divisions. The NFC East is obviously a two-team race between Dallas and Philadelphia. The Giants and Redskins have a long way to go to be representative in the division and even be considered as both teams will likely come in right around that .500 mark. The Eagles are clearly the standard of this division and Dallas is top-heavy with the way they have structured their deals with QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliot. They have a strong offensive line, but they have replacements to fill too. I like their team a lot and I think they have been underperforming for years. Now that they have changed their head coach and bring in Mike McCarthy who is a proven winner from Green Bay, but has been out of the league for a while. There are some chemistry issues that must be worked through when you bring in a new regime, but I only see the Cowboys improving under McCarthy. When you look at the Eagles, they have the same nucleus that they had when they won the Superbowl for the most part. Overall, I favor the Eagles to win the NFC East.

The other division I want to look at is the NFC South. This division really got shook-up with the Bucs signing Tom Brady. The New Orleans Saints bring back QB Drew Brees, but they lose backup Teddy Bridgewater to the Panthers. There is a lot of upside to the Panthers with a new head coach, new QB and McCaffrey returning. Are the Atlanta Falcons real? The team is aging, they have failed to produce the last few years and really have not been the same team since halftime of that Super Bowl loss to the Patriots and loss of Shanahan to the 49ers. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the big prize in the offseason with Brady signing. They have quality wide receivers and a potent running game. Head coach Bruce Arians now has the complete weapons need to turn this Bucs team into a winner and make a run at the division title. This is going to be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL this year.

Should be a great draft and I know with all that is going on in the world we are all looking forward to some football, even if it’s just the draft for now.