Top Three NFL Draft Winners and Win-Total Futures

Jay Pryce

Sunday, April 29, 2018 12:56 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 29, 2018 12:56 PM UTC

The Broncos, Colts, and Redskins came out victorious in the 2018 NFL Draft. Only two of those teams, however, our worth a bet in the current win-total futures market.

NFL: Draft WinnersDenver Broncos

As far as talent acquisition and team needs go, the Denver Broncos hit a home run in the 2018 NFL Draft. General manager John Elway owns a win-now philosophy 24/7 and the players selected present immediate gratification if coached-up. The Broncos got the top-rated defensive player edge rusher Bradley Chubb (N.C. State) with the No. 5 pick overall. Playing beside Von Miller will give Chubb less attention and allow for a seasoned pass-rushing threat out of the gates. Expect close to 10 sacks for the rookie, as he matures into a much-needed DeMarcus Ware replacement.

Trading Aqib Talib to the Rams in the offseason means Denver needs help in the secondary. Elway drafted Boston College corner Isaac Yiadom with the 99th pick overall. The lengthy defender allowed just a pair of touchdowns on 66 targets in 2017, while surrendering a 54.0 completion rate. The Broncos followed up that pick by taking ILB Josey Jewell (Iowa). Jewell, a do-it-all defender, should make an immediate impact. Since 2015, four of six middle linebackers taken in the fourth round are their team’s primary starter.

Denver needed the most help on the other side of the ball. It owned the 27th ranked scoring offense last year, the lowest in franchise history. Three of the Broncos’ first six picks went to skill position players, including WR Courtland Sutton (SMU), RB Royce Freeman (Oregon), and WR DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State). Each is a viable playmaker waiting to make QBs Case Keenum and Paxton Lynch better. In 2017, Sutton ranked fourth among his peers with 38 deep targets and receptions, Freeman forced 23.3 percent of missed tackles, while a slippery Hamilton escaped 14 clutches. Elway bookended these weapons with sure-handed TE Toy Fumaqalli (Wisconsin) in the fifth and RB David Williams (Arkansas) in the seventh round.

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We were very impressed by Daesean Hamilton at the Senior Bowl & are glad to take him in the 4th Rd. A very solid & versatile WR from Penn St who does a tremendous job in all aspects of his game.

— John Elway (@johnelway) April 28, 2018

Denver’s 7.5 win total slipped to 7 before the draft. This number might bounce back to it’s original offer with a glut of talent that can make a difference now. The real concern is head coach Vance Joseph. The Broncos’ struggles last year revolved around general game-planning and scheme implementation as much as anything. These rookies will have to be coached well and to reach their full potential. If Joseph flounders this year, expect Elway to send him packing. This class is too good to waste. When pondering NFL picks, seven wins is asking a lot under the current regime.

Indianapolis Colts

It would have taken monumental incompetence to mess up a draft with five picks in the first two rounds. Colts GM Chris Ballard, however, came out a winner. The first priority, as evident with last year’s 4-12 squad, is to protect franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck missed all of 2017 with shoulder issues, and the O-line allowed a league-high 56 sacks. Indy secured two top-rated guards within the top 37 picks to sure up its front: Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame, 6th) and Braden Smith (Auburn, 37th). Three proven defenders filled out the three other selections, including South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard. Leonard is a coverage magnet who will help pickup backfield targets for a defense that yielded an NFL worst 7.7 yards per pass attempt in 2017. Ends Kemoko Turay (Rutgers) and Tyquan Lewis (Ohio State), proven run stoppers, should make an immediate impact.

The rest of Indy’s draft consisted of finding value in playmaking areas. Ballard picked up RB Nyheim Hines (N.C. State), WR Daurice Fountain (Northern Iowa), RB Jordan Wilkins (Ole Miss), and WR Deon Cain (Clemson) in the fourth through sixth rounds. Each selection is capable of generating explosive plays. Couple their talents with a bevy of picks designed to fill-in the trenches, and Indy came out of the draft with one of the most balanced and potentially dangerous classes of any team. If Luck returns, which there is guarded optimism he will after the front office reportedly repelled several trade offers during the draft, this team should cruise past its "over/under" 6 win total with a nice mix of intriguing prospects and veterans.

Washington Redskins

Success in head coach Jay Gruden’s schemes depends on possession, game management, and hard-nosed plays. Washington picked up some of the toughest options in the draft as a perfect fit. Defensive tackle Da’ron Payne was the team’s first selection with the 13th pick overall. He should offer instant success for the league’s worst run defense from last season alongside fellow college teammate Jonathan Allen. Next off the board was running back Derrius Guice, arguably the toughest of all offensive players in the draft to take down. Guice runs angry and will flourish in a north-south Gruden rushing attack. Both will be starting from day one.

Washington also finagled two steals late in the draft to make this one of the best in recent memory, picking ILB Shaun dion Hamilton (Alabama) and cornerback Greg Stroman (Virginia Tech) in the sixth and seventh rounds. A but undersized, Stroman allowed an absurdly low passer rating of 26.8 when targeted in 2017, and can play special teams. It’s 50/50 selections this late make it in the NFL, but these two project to have long, serviceable careers. The Redskins’ draft seems a perfect fit and adds depth for a team always teetering around .500 behind Gruden. "Over" 7 wins in futures betting offers some value with this class.

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