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2024 NFL Draft: NFL Draft Props for the First Round

NFL Draft Odds: 2024 NFL Draft Props and Betting Picks

It's my fourth rendition of the NFL Draft Props article, and one that has gotten significantly more difficult with the books becoming savvier and teams more tight-lipped about possible player landing spots.

Exact Draft Order

No. 5 overall pick - Joe Alt (+475 on DraftKings)

I'm not especially confident on this take, but Alt is among the top-3 or so best players in this class. That he's reportedly at risk of falling outside of the top five is entirely reliant on the possibility that a team trades up to No. 4 to select J.J. McCarthy, thus pushing presumed first-non QB Marvin Harrison down a peg.

That the total number of draft-day trades is set to over/under 6.5 is entirely because the first six or so picks all have the potential to be traded. Alt going fifth overall is insulated by the Chargers staying at No. 5, but also makes sense if any trade shenanigans occur among the aforementioned group.

No. 3 overall pick - Jayden Daniels (+185 on FanDuel)

I have a wilder Daniels call a bit later in the article, but this is the more risk-averse choice right now.

It's been wildly speculated that the Heisman Trophy winner would be "the" splash pick by Washington's new ownership group, but an admittedly bizarre choice to host all four potential first-round quarterbacks on a visit last week seems to have irked Daniels and his representation, to the point that the foregone conclusion isn't as concrete as once presumed.

I hardly doubt the LSU quarterback will look back and care about the steps of the process if the result means he goes No. 2 overall, and I also doubt Washington will care about upsetting its franchise signal-caller by being especially thorough in the decision. But if Daniels really was the layup of a second-overall pick as the media has made it out to be, this does feel like a noticeable overstep.

Drake Maye is just also a better, more conventional prospect when it comes to the way the NFL operates. A big, strong-armed, reasonably mobile quarterback who has flashed plenty of sexy traits in college is typically valued more than a fifth-year senior who compiled just a 49:16 TD:INT ratio in the four seasons prior to working with one of the best collegiate receiver rooms in the past decade. That the NFL scouting process would suddenly deviate from that model just because the owner of the 76ers bought a team doesn't make sense to me.

Draft Position

Adonai Mitchell under pick 27.5 (+130 on DraftKings)

Guessing the over/under of select prospects has typically been my most profitable exercise over the years. This one was truly one of the wilder o/u I saw across all sportsbooks, to the point that I initially thought I was reading this wrong. 

The Bills have been the popular mocked landing spot for the Texas product at No. 28, but I made the case on last Wednesday's podcast that the "obvious" landing spot is actually going to have harmful effects for said team because other organizations can simply jump in front of them.

 Whether the Bills are actually interested in Mitchell matters little to me; that other teams think they could be is the important context here. That the talented wideout appears to closer to the Brian Thomas tier of wideouts than the other groups of wide receivers below him also cements him as an earlier first-round candidate.

Graham Barton over 21.5 (+120 on DraftKings)

For those of you running a crash course on the NFL Draft prior to Thursday, the drama will come entirely within the first hour as we wait to see where the top four quarterbacks go, and who was aggressive enough to get them. 

After that, once the top four pass catchers (Marvin Harrison, Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze and Brock Bowers) come off the board, you might be liable to fall asleep due to the nauseating amount of offensive lineman likely to be picked within the ensuing 20 or so picks. Barton is pretty universally considered the draft's top center prospect and essentially a lock to go in the first round. Since 2015, only six centers have been drafted in the first, and none higher than Garrett Bradbury to the Vikings back in 2019. 

More recently, the relatively bulletproof prospect profile of Tyler Linderbaum fell all the way to pick No. 25 in the 2022 draft, and studs like Creed Humphrey and Zach Tom have gone even later. Every draft is different, but the NFL has told us that the center position often isn't worth investing premium assets into it. You should listen and take note.

Jackson Powers-Johnson over 31.5 (+150 on DraftKings)

Frank Ragnow and Billy Price went No. 20 and 21st overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Prior to that, the last time two centers went in the first round of a NFL Draft was back in 1968. Even if you believe Powers-Johnson will be a great pro at the professional level, NFL teams strategically don't commit that kind of draft capital to a position that has yet to really take off from a salary perspective.

 Considering this range is also ripe for a team to trade in and get fifth-year eligibility for a quarterback, pass rusher or wide receiver, I'd just be genuinely shocked if the Oregon product goes in the first round.

Ladd McConkey to be picked in the first round (+135 on DraftKings)

There will probably be exact over/under options for McConkey closer to draft day, but the plus-money intrigues right now. It ties into the above conversation regarding centers, but if you're trying to get an additional fifth-year tacked onto the first-round contract, typically NFL teams are looking for the best bang for their buck.

Ja'Lynn Polk, Troy Franklin, Xavier Worthy and Xavier Legette are all candidates to be considered around this range for that exact reason which makes me anxious to pinpoint McConkey, but after an outstanding performance at the NFL Combine capped off by a 4.39 40-yard dash, the redshirt junior is no longer a hidden gem among draft experts. 

Whereas that quartet of wide receivers all could be typecast in some sort of "blazing fast" archetype, every NFL team can use a reliable, nimble, hard-nosed slot receiver, especially one with excellent advanced metrics after the catch like McConkey.

Player Drafted By

Xavier Worthy to be selected by the Colts (+1000)

I'd rather bet on the Colts drafting Brock Bowers, but there's just a bit too much juice already on that for me to consider as a recommendation. Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard also has an affinity to trade down, but there's really no way to bet that exact outcome. 

With that in mind, I do think there's a chance the team could consider drafting officially the fastest player in Combine history. Indy has tried to find downfield speed merchants in past years (Alec Pierce, Parris Campbell, etc.), but it hasn't really landed. Especially with Anthony Richardson under center, crazy speed is an element of the offense that finally could yield positive results especially if they're able to get the right guy. 

I'm a bit worried that Worthy might be closer to the John Ross, Tedd Ginn, Darius Heyward-Bey type of wideout as opposed to newer versions of that type of player in Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith, but Richardson's electric arm could stand to benefit if he gets the true best-case scenario -- this generation's DeSean Jackson catching passes for him.

Jayden Daniels to be selected by the Vikings (+1000 on BetMGM)

Full disclosure: I was able to get this line at +1100 on DraftKings a day or two before the news regarding Washington's ill-planned pre-draft meetings arose. On both FanDuel and DraftKings, this exact outcome has dropped to +850, but thankfully you can find a better mark at a few other shops.

The Vikings have made it almost embarrassingly known they want to trade up for a quarterback. It doesn't seem to matter who the prospect is, whether it be Drake Maye, Daniels or even J.J. McCarthy -- Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is desperate and he's happy to get worked over by another team to accomplish his goal.

While I think that strategy is....a might pay off well enough if Daniels does slip to three. I can't tell if it's just my select friend group who believes this, or if there's really a prevailing national understanding that Minnesota could be forced to trade Justin Jefferson given some sour contract negotiations to date, but the Vikings trading up to No. 3 fits from a draft capital perspective and would keep the All-Pro wideout satiated given their respective collegiate roots.

First player of position to be drafted

Trey Benson to be first RB selected (+220)

Another nugget from last Wednesday's podcast, but after looking over all the available players more, I think the Cowboys will either trade up from No. 56 or just have the FSU product fall to them in the second round. This is going to be a historically weak rookie running back class, but Benson is one of the few guys who has both the collegiate production and prototypical build to assume three-down work. 

Texas running back Jonathon Brooks is the slight betting favorite to be the first RB off the board, and it's entirely possible he'll land in his home state instead. But after tearing his ACL November 12, it's hard to imagine the electric back factoring too much into the beginning of the '24 campaign. It's even harder to imagine the Cowboys' backfield led by some combination of

Longshot Draft Bets

Top Five Overall Picks Exact Order

Let's wrap up by taking some swings for the fences, shall we?

Breaking down the first one, here's what needs to happen: Williams goes first as expected. The Daniels to Washington link comes to fruition -- it's priced at -475 at the time of this writing on DraftKings. Third, the Patriots end up taking the best quarterback available in Maye. Fourth, a trade occurs, whether it's the Giants or the Vikings, to move up to the No.4 pick and select McCarthy, which leaves the Chargers to take the top-rated tackle in the draft in Alt. 

None of these legs seem all that far-fetched in a vacuum. It will go off the rails if the trade for the fourth pick doesn't materialize, or if Harbaugh surprises everyone and eschews addressing the trenches with the fifth pick. 

For the second bet, it gets more interesting early. Again, Daniels is the heavy favorite to go second overall. If that ends up being a smoke screen, I believe Maye will be the pick for the Commanders. Smoke screens happen this time of the year, need I remind you of the Great Will Levis Saga of 2023? Or the Sam Darnold-Baker Mayfield Okey-Doke of 2018?

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