To nobody’s surprise, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota went 1-2 in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The NFL odds for Super Bowl 50 have yet to budge in response to Thursday’s selections.
That might have been the easiest NFL pick you’ll get this season. On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took QB Jameis Winston first overall at the annual player selection meeting. The early football odds had Winston pegged at –400 to go first in the 2015 Draft. By Wednesday, those odds had moved to –2000. We love to say we told you so. But really, what else could anyone have expected from the Bucs? They telegraphed this pick from the get-go.
Drafting Winston is such a non-event that the Super Bowl 50 futures market hasn’t changed since Thursday’s first round – not as we go to press, at least. Tampa Bay was still near the bottom of the NFL odds list at a range between +8000 and +20000. Even in a league ruled by parity, Winston’s arrival isn’t expected to turn the Buccaneers (2-14 SU, 7-9 ATS last year) into instant contenders. Things might actually get worse, based on the advanced analytics at Football Outsiders.
If you were looking to score on the Draft Position prop for QB Marcus Mariota, that turned into easy money, as well. As expected, Mariota was taken with the second overall pick; the only question was which team would do the choosing. The Tennessee Titans decided to keep their pick and use it on the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. And as we go to press, they have yet to trade Mariota away. He was a –500 chalk at Bovada the day before the draft to go second overall.
Again, the Titans (2-14 SU, 3-12-1 ATS) still find themselves way down the Super Bowl NFL odds list at between +10000 and +31500. The buzz in Tennessee is that Mariota will do fine in head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s system, which is flexible enough to take advantage of Mariota’s skills as a spread quarterback. But aside from Kurt Warner in Arizona, Whisenhunt hasn’t had a lot of luck with his signal-callers. We’ll see if Mariota ends up employed elsewhere before training camp.
There’s a New Scherff in Town
If there was a surprise in the early picks, it was at No. 5, where Washington did something very rare: take an offensive lineman. Iowa’s Brandon Scherff is bound for D.C., making him just the second OT taken by Washington in nearly 20 years – Trent Williams was the other, in 2010. Scherff may have been a bit of a reach at No. 5, and he’ll likely be asked to make the shift from left tackle to right tackle, but Scherff should be an instant upgrade over Tyler Polumbus. Washington (4-12 SU, 5-11 ATS) remains available at between +8000 and +13500 on the Super Bowl futures market.
Lo and behold, Washington’s decision allowed the New York Jets (4-12 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) to grab DE Leonard Williams at No. 6 overall. Williams was projected to go as high as No. 2 before Mariota started gaining traction. This is an outstanding get for New York. The two-time All-American is an imposing run stuffer with versatility, speed and a solid work ethic. The future looks bright for the Jets, even if the futures market has them between +4000 and +8500 to win Super Bowl 50.
Other than that, it was pretty much business as usual. Georgia RB Todd Gurley went to the St. Louis Rams at No. 10, which again may have been a bit of a reach, then the San Diego Chargers traded up to get Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon at No. 15. Those were the first two tailbacks taken in the first round since 2013, but again, no surprise: OVER 1.5 on first-round RBs was priced at –500 on Wednesday. And no, the Minnesota Vikings did not trade RB Adrian Peterson before the first round was over (–300). Mmmmm… chalk.