We are now less than one week away from the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, as it takes place Thursday in Chicago, so this is a good time to present our best draft prop bets.
The NFL Draft begins with the first round next Thursday, April 28th in Chicago, so it is now time to offer our NFL picks for the draft, all of which will be confined to the first round only. Granted there could still be some more trading between now and Draft Day in the wake of the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles making major trades to snare the top two overall picks in the past week, but these selections are based on teams staying in their current order.
Our favorite five draft props on the NFL odds are offered at the very end of this article, but in order to give you the thought process behind those picks, we feel it is first necessary to give you our own personal mock draft of the first 10 picks as you will see the direct correlation between how we feel the draft will go as of now and our actual prop selections.
So without any further ado, here are our prediction for the top 10 picks. Be warned that some of these selections go against the grain if you listen to national prognosticators.
Top 10 Mock Draft
1) Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff, QB, California: The Rams are making the move back to Los Angeles this year, and they already made waves with the football community by acquiring the top overall pick from the Tennessee Titans in a blockbuster trade that brought Tennessee a bushel of draft picks. And with the first pick, the Rams will most likely choose the local California kid in Goff, who already appears NFL-ready with his awareness, pocket mobility and accuracy, and who already displayed his mental toughness by enduring a 1-11 season in his first year at California and leading the team to steady improvement, culminating in a bowl win to finish 8-5 this past season.
2) Philadelphia Eagles - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State: Do you remember when quarterbacks were taken with the first two picks of the draft last season? Well, you don’t think that the Eagles also traded a bunch of picks to the Cleveland Browns for the second pick to not also take a quarterback, do you? And Philadelphia may have struck gold with Wentz probably having more upside than any quarterback in this class. Wentz combines great raw physical ability with great “football smarts” and composure, and although he comes out of an FCS program, he should have quieted a lot of skeptics with his showings at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and his Pro Day.
3) San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State: With the two stud quarterbacks off the board, the kneejerk reaction would be for the Chargers to draft offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, as he is the highest rated prospect at any position in this draft and he would have been the number one pick had Tennessee kept the selection. The problem with that logic though is that San Diego already committed a ton of money to their two offensive tackle spots, and the Chargers now get a chance to fill a bigger need on the defense, with that being in the secondary with the departure of Eric Weddle. Thus we feel the Chargers will be unable to resist the urge to fill that need with the consensus best defensive back in this draft.
4) Dallas Cowboys - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: The Cowboys of course already possess one of the best offensive lines in all of football, so if the Chargers pass in Tunsil as we expect, then he would probably find himself slipping further. Bosa may have some character concerns, but he is the premier defensive end in this draft and he is NFL ready due to his ability to both get to the passer and stuff the run. Besides, Jerry Jones has always prioritized physical ability over character, and the Dallas defensive line will need help with Greg Hardy out the door and Randy Gregory facing a suspension.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: So, does Tunsil go to Jacksonville with the fifth pick? Well…the Jaguars already have a budding offense with Blake Bortles at quarterback, T.J. Yeldon in the backfield and a nice receiving corps led by Allen Robinson. However, it was apparent last season that Jacksonville needs a defensive upgrade to become a playoff contender, so we fell they will take a step in that direction here with Jack. Granted Jack missed last season with a knee injury, but there is no denying his instincts, athleticism and star power, which are three things the Jaguars lack on defense, and he is expected to be ready by Week 1 of this season.
6) Baltimore Ravens - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss: Finally, the consensus “best player in the draft” should go at number six, probably making him the biggest steal of the first round. Ozzie Newsome is one that has usually opted for the “best player available” over positional needs, and in this case he would get both with left tackle being one of the most glaring needs on the Baltimore roster. If this prediction does come to fruition, it would instantly make Baltimore a nice darkhorse candidate to win the AFC this season that would be worth the longshot price.
7) San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon: Now that Tunsil is gone and not forcing the hand of the teams on the clock, they could all go back to addressing their needs. Well, the 49ers have a ton of needs including quarterback, but with the Big Two at that position going 1-2, we feel that the clear third best quarterback in the draft in Paxton Lynch would be a reach if picked in the top 10 with so many blue-chippers available at other positions. Thus we feel that the Niners will resist the urge to take Lynch too early and improve there once proud defensive line that was pretty much a debacle last season. Buckner is an ideal five-technique end that fits the San Francisco defensive scheme, and his selection would create a reunion with former Oregon teammate Arik Armstead as bookends on the line.
8) Cleveland Browns - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: Remember that as we mentioned earlier, these selections are based on teams still being in their current positions on draft night. That bears mentioning because the Browns have also been rumored to have interest in Paxton Lynch and they may be open to trading down even further for more draft picks. But Lynch would be a reach if they stay at number eight though, so if they do look for them to improve the offensive line with the consensus second best tackle in this draft after Tunsil. Stanley is already a polished pass-blocker with terrific initial quickness and balance, although the one knock against him is he may lack the physicality necessary to be a great run blocker. That could change over time though with work in the weight room.
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Tampa Bay needs help in the secondary and the Bucs could look to get help close to home again, not unlike last season when they tabbed Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston first overall. This time they go north a bit to Gainesville to select Hargreaves, a three-time all-SEC pick that is a great playmaker with excellent instincts and agility.
10) New York Giants - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: Elliott was linked to the Philadelphia Eagles early in the draft process, but that went out the window once the Eagles traded up to number two to take a quarterback, Thus, if all goes according to plan (ours that is), Elliott could fall to the Giants at number 10, which should mean the end of a revolving backfield that the Giants have had for several years now. Elliott is the best three-down running back in this draft, and the Giants may be considered downright foolish to pass on him if he falls to 10.
Best Draft Prop Bets
Now that you have absorbed all that and have a clear understanding of how we feel the draft will go, here are our five favorite prop selections.
Miles Jack Draft Position Under 5½ (-105): We like this pick even if Tunsil does go high in the draft after all, as we feel Jack will be the Jaguars’ man at number five regardless, if he falls that far that is.
Laremy Tunsil Draft Position Over 4½ (+200): Yes, Tunsil is the best player in the draft, but he could be a victim of circumstances through no fault of his own. It is a given that the two quarterbacks will be the first two picks, then if the Chargers pass on him because they are so heavily invested at the tackle spots, the Cowboys do not have a need for offensive line help at number four. And did we mention the +200 making this even more enticing.
Ezekiel Elliott Draft Position Over 8½ (+175): Speaking of enticing odds, Elliott looks like a legitimate overlay at +175 to not be taken with the first eight picks now that the Eagles are out of the picture. Just about the only risk we see right now would be the Browns taking him right at number eight, but that seems a risk worth taking at these odds.
Jalen Ramsey drafted before Laremy Tunsil (-110): Just the fact that this is priced at -110 is a strong indicator that the Chargers will opt for Ramsey over Tunsil at number three.
Joey Bosa drafted before Myles Jack (-105): Yes, this one probably requires us to be precisely right with Bosa going at four to the Cowboys, as we feel Jacksonville will take Jack at five even if both of these players are on the board. So here is to hoping that Jerry Jones again eschews character concerns as he often does.