The NFL 2020 undrafted free agents just finished signing their deals today, so that means naturally we can start taking bets on next year’s draft class.
Sunshine is the overwhelming favorite to be selected No. 1, but I wouldn’t rule out Justin Fields if he polishes his passing game up a bit. The game is changing, and while many GMs are still hung up on statuesque White Guy, the varying success of Murray, Haskins and Jackson — and this year’s picks of Tua and Burrow and Love in the first round — shows that the new class of NFL QBs adds a lot more mobility and RPO elements to the stodgy ole’ pro game. Not that Sunshine can’t do that, of course. He has decent wheels. But Lawrence is at his best with quick-hitters....and hoping that his opponents’ secondaries and defensive coaching kind of suck (not that I’m still bitter or anything).
FIRST OVERALL PLAYER DRAFTED
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) -305
Justin Fields (Ohio State) +300
Penei Sewell (Oregon) +400
D’Eriq King (Miami) +1600
Micah Parsons (Penn State) +2500
Jamie Newman (Georgia) +3300
Alex Leatherwood (Alabama) +3300
Gregory Rousseau (Miami) +3300
Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) +5000
FIRST QB DRAFTED
What a gross QB class this is, huh? Lawrence may prove be a serviceable starter (for the record, I think he’s going to bust. I’m sticking by that prediction). And one does have hopes for Purdy. Fields is a less-polished Dwayne Haskins at this stage. But he was a quick study in his first year. And is there anyone else on this list you’d trust to be your starter? Where is Mac Jones?! Finally, if you hate money, give to Vegas on Jamie Newman. Just awful.
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) -400
Justin Fields (Ohio State) +350
D’Eriq King (Miami) +1000
Jamie Newman (Georgia) +1200
Sam Ehlinger (Texas) +1800
Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) +2000
Brock Purdy (Iowa State) +2000
K.J. Costello (Mississippi State) +3300
Kyle Trask (Florida) +3300
FIRST RUNNING BACK DRAFTED
This is a very talented running back class. Probably on par with the one that gave us Damien Harris as a freaking third round selection two years ago. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for with high-end talent. Etienne is probably the early favorite (duh), but he’s had a billion touches through three years already, and if he’s the focus of the offense again, he may be the (negative) beneficiary of the Jonathan Taylor syndrome — just too many carries on a 22-year-old body. Keep an eye on CLANGA’S Kylin Hill; the kid is a baller.
Travis Etienne (Clemson) -125
Najee Harris (Alabama) +150
Chuba Hubbard (Ok. State) +300
Kylin Hill (Mississippi State) +450
FIRST WR DRAFTED
It’s a good thing Chase was a sophomore this year, otherwise he’d have been forced to go to the draft, and I say “forced” because he may have been the top wideout selection. It’s hard to hate him as a favorite here; he’s powerful, goes up and fights for balls; has good speed, is excellent in the open field, and he makes a lot of quality DBs look stupid. Smith and Waddle are first round talents for sure too. But, if this bet were “second wide receiver drafted,” I’d put my money on the electric Jaylen Waddle. The NFL has one Tyreek Hill; but it’s about to have another one...and this one isn’t a woman-beating POS either.
Ja’Marr Chase (LSU) +100
DeVonta Smith (Alabama) +400
Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) +400
Rashod Bateman (Minnesota) +700
Tylan Wallace (Ok State) +700
Rondale Moore (Purdue) +800
Justyn Ross (Clemson) +1200
Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC) +2000
FIRST OL DRAFTED
Again, hard to argue here. Sewell is a monster. He’s bandied about as an overall No. 1 selection for a reason. Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood made himself a lot of money by coming back another year — both because he needed the polish, and 2020 was one of the richest drafts for tackles in recent memory.
Penei Sewell (Oregon) -400
Alex Leatherwood (Alabama)+400
Walker Little (Stanford) +700
Sam Cosmi (Texas) +1200
Jaylen Mayfield (Michigan) +1400
FIRST DEFENSIVE PLAYER DRAFTED
Of all the props, this one seems to be the one most open to question. As thin as the 2020 safety class was, 2021 is even thinner, so there’s little doubt LeCounte will be a first-rounder. But he’s likely not the first player taken.
Though it really will depend on the complete package — season performance, combine results, team, and scheme — look to DBs. PSII could be the better bet here; 50 DBs were drafted this year, out of 254 picks. And, of course, don’t discount the DL. Teams are always thirsty for rush-ends — Parsons and Rousseau are plainly the best entering this season. Neither are a Josh Allen, Chase Young, Bosa Bro-type though
Micah Parsons, (Penn State) +300
Gregory Rousseau (Univ Miami) +350
Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) +450
Richard Lecount (Georgia) +500