The weird thing about tonight's NFL Draft is that (a) I can't remember the last time I was this excited to sit down and watch the first round, and (b) the team I cover, the Houston Texans, doesn't have a pick until sometime in the middle of the evening on FRIDAY. Those two things are happening, rather ironically, at the same time.
With the rumored deal making that could go on at this draft, they should just send all of the general managers down to a trading room floor somewhere and reenact the final scene of Trading Places — SELL, MORTIMER, SEEEELLLLLL!
Hell, John Elway has essentially said that he is putting the Broncos' fifth overall selection up for auction, and there are at least three or four teams I would expect to attempt to pounce. THIS is the craziness that the desperate search for a franchise quarterback is causing. Thank all of the football gods that we don't have to go through this again in Houston any time soon. God bless you (and your knees), Deshaun Watson!
There are some intriguing storylines for tonight that I will be keeping an eye on. if you care to follow along with me, here they are:
4. Prop bets
Yes, you can gamble on the NFL Draft. (Actually, let's all just accept this — you can gamble on pretty much ANYTHING.) The odds I am posting here are from Bovada.lv. Here are a couple of wagers where I like the value on the underdog:
NFL DRAFT - Will any of the top five picks be traded on draft day?
Yes +225 (9/4)
No -350 (2/7)
NFL DRAFT - Number of Quarterbacks Selected in Round 1
Over 5.5 +155 (31/20)
Under 5.5 -220 (5/11)
If I believe they should just reenact Trading Places, then by definition I should bet on one of the top five picks being traded on draft day, so there's my rationale on that one. On the second bet, we know who the top five quarterbacks are — Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson. They should all go in the first round. I am basically betting +155 that (a) a QB needy team will trade into the first round for Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph, or (b) a good team will draft Rudolph to develop as the heir apparent to a veteran QB.
3. Quenton Nelson, certified beast
There are many, including the draft expert I ride or die with, John Harris of the Houston Texans, who rank Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson as the top player in this draft. However, the question is "How high do you draft a guard?" For some reason, Bovada did not offer an over/under on where Nelson would go, but I would put it at 7.5. I think Tampa Bay at seventh overall feels right. For now, enjoy this plate of pancakes!
2. The Saquon Barkley Saga
All roads point to Barkley going to the Giants with the second overall pick. However, let's pretend that the Browns take a dump on themselves and draft Josh Allen instead of Sam Darnold (bad move, if it happens). If that occurs, I would expect the Giants to then draft Darnold (the only QB in this crop that they reportedly love), and then where does Barkley go? We know the Jets didn't trade up to the third pick to take a running back, they want a QB. Then the Browns MAY take him at four, but what if they choose defensive end Bradley Chubb to pair with Myles Garrett and create a two headed sack monster? I'm just saying that OVER 4.5 on Barkley at +160 is not the worst value in the world:
NFL DRAFT - Draft Position - Saquon Barkley
Over 4.5 +160 (8/5)
Under 4.5 -230 (10/23)
By the way, with apologies to Quenton Nelson a couple hundred words ago, there is ZERO chance Barkley gets past Tampa Bay at seventh overall. They need a running back DESPERATELY.
1. Quarterback Drama
And HERE is the main event of the evening — the quarterback derby. For the record, I think the best QB bet on the board is UNDER 17.5 on where Lamar Jackson will get taken. The first four guys will be off the board before the top ten is over, and then, all of a sudden, Lamar Jackson is the last elite talent available. The pressure point for him will come a few picks earlier than the Chargers' pick at 17th overall:
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NFL DRAFT - Draft Position - Lamar Jackson
Over 17.5 -165 (20/33)
Under 17.5 +125 (5/4)
For the record, my prediction on where the quarterbacks land:
1. Sam Darnold, CLEV
3. Baker Mayfield, NYJ
5. Josh Allen, DEN
6. Josh Rosen, BUF (via trade)
11. Lamar Jackson, MIA
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.