With under two weeks left we are now not only getting more draft props available to us but also a lot more information out there that we can start to use to our advantage. I have been using DraftKings odds for all of my mocks so to keep it consistent I will only use theirs for this article, but as always, shop around and see if you can find a better number out there at a book you have access to.
Kansas City Chiefs Exact Position of First Player Picked: Offensive Lineman +110
I have mocked an offensive lineman to them in every iteration of my mocks and I am not the only one. Grinding The Mocks shows that 62.3% of mocks tracked have an offensive lineman going to Kansas City in the first round. In fact, the top five most commonly mocked players to Kansas City are all offensive linemen. With the free agent pool pretty much dried up at this point, the Chiefs have to address this position early in the draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers Exact Position of First Player Picked: Offensive Lineman +160
Another team in desperate need of help along the offensive line and actually has even more holes on the line than Kansas City, yet an even bigger number at +160. Warren Sharp did a great job on Twitter debunking the theory that the Steelers should take an RB in the first round with a myriad of stats to back him up and concluded with “they don’t need to replace Connor, they need a better O-line.”
Over 6.5 Offensive Lineman Drafted in the 1st Round: +108
You can probably notice a theme here, but as I have explained in my mocks and Warren explained on the Bill Simmons podcast, coming off of what we witnessed in the Super Bowl coupled with this being a very unique draft process this year and the fact that offensive linemen have some of the highest/safest hit rates, I expect teams to lean to that position if they have similar grades on players. As T.A. noted in his draft props article, DraftKings has 26 individual teams with exact draft position props listed and nine of those teams have OL listed as the favorite.
Total Running Backs Drafted in 1st Round: Under 0.5 +175
In each of the past two drafts, exactly one running back was taken in the first round. It lends itself to the narrative that a running back always goes in the first round, even with all the data at our disposal that shows you can now wait on a running back in the draft. But those numbers also suggest the league is learning and evolving. I happened to look up the Aaron Rodgers draft in 2005 and three of the top five picks that year were running backs. As mentioned earlier, DraftKings put out props for the exact position drafted first for 26 teams and none of them have running back listed as the favorite. The only running back that has a draft position prop listed at the moment is Najee Harris and it is 30.5 with -112 on the over (which I would also take by the way). It seems that the number being +175 is based more on past history and a narrative than on the current draft class and team needs.
Zaven Collins First Linebacker to be Drafted: +1600
Yes, this one is the least likely to hit but I think actually holds the most value on the board. The variance on draft boards between him and the favorite Micah Parsons is a lot less than the DraftKings odds would suggest. In an article on The Athletic, when Ben Standig asked which players might go higher than most public boards project, one personnel executive said Collins, the Tulsa linebacker. Collins, the winner of the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik awards, is in play for the Cardinals at No. 16 and Titans at No. 22, another person said. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder, who has sub-4.7 speed, is another prospect receiving the “unicorn” label for his unique athletic traits for his position. This also dovetails with the Parsons draft position prop of 11.5 -112. If Parsons gets past Denver at No. 9, he could see himself start to drop right into the range of where Collins could go which is a much more likely outcome than the 5.88% implied odds.