The dust has settled on this year’s NFL draft and now it’s time to predict the winners, losers and some interesting wagering props on this crop of rookies. Let’s play GM and tackle this topic.
New York Giants – The offers were presented fast and furiously to new Giants GM Dave Gettleman for his No. 2 pick in the draft but he refused to budge. Instead, the veteran football executive did exactly what he should have done and plucked a game-changing running back in Saquon Barkley, who has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. Big Blue then added a top-notch guard in Will Hernandez in the second round to smash holes for Barkley and shored up their defense with a linebacker and a pair of defensive tackles. For those New York fans pining for an Eli heir, they might just have stolen him in the fourth-round with Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta.
Arizona Cardinals – The Redbirds needed a top gun under center and they got one. Arizona traded their No. 15 pick in the draft along with a third-rounder (79) and a fifth (152) to Oakland to get UCLA gunner Josh Rosen as the 10th pick in the draft. Although it’s true Rosen comes with questions about whether or not his head is on straight enough to succeed at the professional level, his dynamic arm ameliorates those concerns. The Cardinals then got a Cadillac receiver to complement their Maybach under center when they nabbed a first-round talent in the second round with Texas A&M product Christian Kirk. Sprinkle in a stud center in Michigan’s Mason Cole to keep Rosen upright and it’s a good day in the desert.
Jacksonville Jaguars – If we are grading this draft on value, which we are, then look no further than what the Jaguars did when they selected a powerful defensive tackle in Taven Bryan out of Florida. Bryan was not supposed to be around at the end of the first round, but he was and the Jags claimed him even though DT is not a high priority this season with three defensive linemen selected to last season’s Pro Bowl. He was the prototypical best athlete available at that spot and his worth will reveal itself when salary cap restrictions prohibit Jacksonville from signing all of their soon-to-be high priced defensive line talents after next season. In the second-round LSU’s 6’3” speed merchant DJ Chark was selected as a twin terror to Donte Moncrief to stretch the field and block the edge when called upon. In the third round, much like the first round, they went with the best available athlete who they deemed to be safety Ronnie Harrison out of Alabama. Harrison may have to learn from the starters but once again, he provides amazing depth and will be a star in years to come. The Jags finally addressed a true need when they chose NC State’s 6’6” tackle Will Richardson. This is a pick that will help their offensive line and in Richardson, they get a player who could even begin his career as a massive guard. If value is the name of the game then Jacksonville won by poaching premium players at bargain basement prices.
Tennessee Titans – Much like their AFC South counterparts from Jacksonville, the Titans got value, but unlike the Jags they also filled much-needed vacancies. The Titans’ brass was smart to trade up a few spots to get Alabama’s inside linebacker Rashaan Evans as the 22nd pick in the draft because there is little doubt the Patriots would have selected him at No. 23. Great get for new head coach and former Patriot player Mike Vrabel. Harold Landry of Boston College should have gone in the opening round but he slipped to No. 41 and the Titans pulled the trigger again to trade up and stopped the Landry freefall. Unlike Evans, who is an off the line of scrimmage LB, Landry is an edge rusher with an explosive first step. You could stop right there and the Titans get an A, but they added a solid strong safety in the fifth round, after trading up again, in Dane Cruikshank from Arizona and took a flier on Washington State’s Luke Falk as a potential backup to Marcus Mariota. Great value – great draft.
Cleveland Browns – This doesn’t mean that every player the Browns selected will be a bust. What it does mean is that they could have done so much more with the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in the draft. There are few teams in the league that couldn’t use a Baker Mayfield or a Denzel Ward. But Mayfield was not an all-consensus No. 1 pick, ala Andrew Luck in 2012, and the fact they delayed in making the pick proves they were debating over this year’s talented crop of upper echelon QB’s featuring Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. Why not take the most surefire player in the draft with Saquon Barkley to energize their backfield and then take whichever quarterback remains at No. 4? It could even have been Mayfield!
Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks traded down from No. 18 to No. 27 and fetched a third-round pick in the process. So far so good. But then it came time to pick and they chose tailback Rashaad Penny out of San Diego State when there were still at least four comparable players in Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones and Derrius Guice who could have been selected down the line. This is no knock on Penny, it is simply a dubious value selection by Seattle. Defensive lineman Rasheem Green fills a void on the defensive front but making Will Dissly, a tight end known more for protection than pass catching, the 120th pick in the draft and then trading up for a punter in the fifth round spells disaster.
Rookie Proposition Bets
If you are jonesing for some football betting action then click on over to Sportsbook Review (SBR) where you can get a clue as to what all the best online sportsbooks on the planet are already dealing on games that won’t be played until September, as well as prop odds on the rookies that were just drafted! Let’s take a look at a few of the more intriguing props out there and don’t forget to check SBR’s rating guide as well which gives you the lowdown on the best books in the industry all the way down to the worst.
Most passing yards during the 2018-2019 regular season
Baker Mayfield +125
Josh Allen +185
Josh Rosen +300
Sam Darnold +500
My money is on Rosen, who should be under center sooner than later for the Cardinals who also have Sam Bradford in the fold. We know that Bradford is fragile and Rosen has a chip on his shoulder about slipping to No. 10, well behind Mayfield, Darnold and Allen. Once the coaches get an up close and personal view of their top draft choice, it won’t surprise me if Rosen gets the first-string nod.
Will Saquon Barkley rush for 1,000 yards during 2018-19 regular season?
If he doesn’t then the Giants made a huge mistake because Barkley will be given plenty of work to take the heat off Eli. Yes is a steal at -130 here.
Most rushing yards during the 2018-2019 regular season
Saquon Barkley -110
Rashaad Penny +150
Sony Michel +325
Barkley is the selection again as Michel will be asked to not only rush but catch out of the backfield as Dion Lewis did before he exited New England for Tennessee. Therefore, the only real threat we have is Penny, but I’m not convinced he will be given the same workload as Barkley but even if he does I will take Barkley’s legs over Penny’s. Back Barkley at -110.