The NFL Draft is now two weeks away and it is time to release my first wave of props that I believe currently have value. As a refresher, last season I hit a couple of long shots in Henry Ruggs as the first wide receiver drafted (+500) and A.J. Epenesa to not be drafted in Round 1 (+180).
This draft prop market is one that is not very efficient, mainly due to the fact that limits at most sportsbooks are very low, reducing the impact that sharp bettors can have on the market. I am always struck by how mainstream media incorrectly uses current draft prop odds to make any sort of accurate determination of how a draft will go. Odds are volatile and can flip on a dime purely based on news reports. There is rarely any sort of major inside information to be gleaned here, again mainly due to the fact that the limits are so low.
Of all the NFL markets, draft props probably give you the best chance at hitting long-shot bets. For example, in 2018 following the combine, Baker Mayfield’s over/under draft position was only 5.5 and you could have gotten + odds on the under! He was +550 to go No. 1 and the favorite was Saquon Barkley. Whoops. Last season, Isaiah Simmons was +600 to be drafted by Arizona and Ruggs was +500 to be the first receiver drafted. There are clear inefficiencies in this market.
These props listed below are ways to potentially make some pocket change but you won’t be breaking the bank.
Jaycee Horn draft position under 13.5 -112 (DraftKings)
Horn’s draft prospects have skyrocketed following a very impressive pro day, where he ran a 4.4 40 with a 41+ vertical leap at 6’0” and 205 pounds. With potential top cornerback Caleb Farley having injury concerns with his back, Horn has solidified himself as a consensus No. 2 CB and potentially the top corner on some teams’ draft boards.
There are multiple teams in the top-13 who need cornerback help starting with Detroit (7), Carolina (8), Dallas (10), NY Giants (11), Philadelphia (12), and LA Chargers (13). All of those teams, except for the Chargers, ranked 21st or worse in pass defense DVOA. The Chargers ranked 17th but cut veteran Casey Hayward.
Horn’s pro day results and size are almost identical to Jalen Ramsey coming out of FSU. My most likely draft position is at 12 with the Eagles but having pick 13 under our belts with new Chargers’ HC Brandon Staley running the show and potentially envisioning Horn becoming his Ramsey is extremely valuable for this prop.
Kyle Pitts u5.5 +104 (FanDuel)
This is fairly simple, Pitts has a better than 50/50 shot at going fourth or fifth overall. You have two bites at the apple here, in my opinion. I personally don’t believe the Falcons will take a quarterback at No. 4 so if they stay there, Pitts will be the pick.
If they do take a quarterback or trade the pick for a team looking for one, then you get another opportunity to win with Cincinnati at No. 5. The prevailing thought is that they would take either Ja’Marr Chase or Penei Sewell with the pick, but I don’t believe they would pass on Pitts if he’s available.
Not only do the Bengals have a huge hole at tight end, but they have a solid wide receiver group already. The drop-off at tight end from Pitts to whomever they could draft in Round 2 is gigantic versus the gap between Chase and a Round 2/3 WR.
Rashawn Slater top 10 pick -125 (DK) + first OL +300 (DK)
Slater is a lot higher on NFL personnel draft boards than Twitter draft analysts’, according to both NFL Network’s Peter Schrager and Daniel Jeremiah. Last week, both guys had Slater going in the top-8. The wildcard here for me is the Panthers trading for Sam Darnold, which opens them up to grab an OL like Slater.
Over 6.5 OL round 1 +108 (DK)
There are a couple of reasons why I like this over here for offensive linemen taken in Round 1. For one, there are five linemen who are solid Round 1 players: Sewell, Slater, Christian Darrisaw, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Teven Jenkins.
All five fall in the top 20 and there are six in the top 32, according to data from Grinding The Mocks. There are another five offensive linemen in the top-41. This prop will be won with teams picking in the bottom-11 of the first round, in my opinion.
Starting with the Colts at No. 21, who are looking to replace Anthony Costanzo at left tackle, there are eight teams who will consider OL with their selection. In fact, three of those teams — Pittsburgh (24), Buffalo (30), and Kansas City (31) — all clearly have the offensive line as their top need.
The fact that the Jaguars franchised mediocre left tackle Cam Robinson shines a light as to how thin this free agent market was at tackle and how teams will be searching for the position in the draft.
In addition, the clear top center in this draft is Landon Dickerson from Alabama. He is listed 40th in Grinding The Mocks but with both Pittsburgh (Maurkice Pouncey retirement) and Green Bay (Corey Linsley leaving in free agency) desperately needing a replacement, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if one of those teams take Dickerson in Round 1. That would be a bonus and easily vault this prop over 6.5.
There are only 26 individual teams listed on DraftKings with exact draft position props listed and nine of those teams have OL listed as the favorite.
Browns exact position of the team’s first draft pick: CB +400 (DK)
I am a Browns fan and I feel like I have a very good handle as to the team’s needs and an insight into their analytically focused process in the draft. A cornerback to play outside opposite Denzel Ward is the clear biggest need outside of edge rusher. The problem is that this isn’t a great draft for pass rushers and the Browns did sign two free agents in Jadaveon Clowney and Takk McKinley to help on the edge.
They did also sign veteran corner Troy Hill to help in the secondary, but Hill is mainly seen as a slot corner who can play outside on occasion. Hill played 620 snaps last season in the slot as compared to 350 outside and I believe the Browns will want to use him in a similar manner this season.
Third-year cornerback Greedy Williams has been cleared to resume football activities after missing all last season with major nerve damage to his shoulder. However, it is still unclear if he can play a full season and even so, GM Andrew Berry was not the GM who drafted Williams and he only graded out as the 108th-best coverage CB by PFF in 2019 when he was able to play. Williams is a luxury for the Browns but hardly a guy you would pencil in as the No. 2 starter.
With good corners potentially available to the Browns at No. 26, including guys like Greg Newsome, Asante Samuel Jr., and Caleb Farley, that is a position that I believe has the best value with this prop.