The NFL is quarterback league. Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson made off-season changes, and they are poised to flip the fortunes of Cleveland and Denver respectively.
Despite the positional value at QB, the draft is not offering top prospects this year. The big boys will most likely dominate the top slots of the 2022 NFL draft.
According to an incredibly useful betting tool that I’ll describe later, here are the top five projected picks of the draft.
- Aiden Hutchinson, edge rusher from Michigan. He is the favorite at -280 on DraftKings to be the top pick.
- Kayvon Thibodeaux, edge rusher from Oregon. He was the favorite for the top pick during football season.
- Evan Neal, offensive tackle from Alabama. He was the favorite for the top pick after the Super Bowl until Jacksonville made moves to secure the tackle position.
- Travon Walker, edge rusher from Georgia. He had only six sacks on a ferocious Georgia defense last season, but he blew up the combine with his elite athleticism.
- Ikem Ekwonu, offensive tackle from North Carolina State.
The quarterbacks will still get attention in the first round of the draft. The markets consider Liberty’s Malik Willis as the favorite for the first QB picked. There are questions about his accuracy and the type of competition he faced in college.
The second QB getting attention is Kenny Pickett, who exploded in 2021 at Pittsburgh. However, that was his fifth year in college, and Pittsburgh’s offense was poor in his first three years as a starter.
A few factors point to value in Pickett at +130 as the first quarterback selected.
First, Matthew Freedman of FantasyPros came on my podcast this week to discuss how he has curated mock drafts with a strong track record. Based on these sharp mocks, he thinks it’s about a coin flip whether Willis or Pickett gets selected first.
Second, the Grinding the Mocks project by Benjamin Robinson collects a variety of mock draft to make a wisdom of crowds prediction of draft position. This is the resource used for the top five prospects listed above.
Benjamin also has Willis and Pickett very close to each other (11th and 12th best prospect respectively). This also suggests a 50-50 scenario for which QB gets selected first.
Grinding the Mocks suggests that Detroit might take Willis with the second overall pick, which you can explore under Prospect Trends on the site. If Willis goes ahead of Pickett, this is a likely scenario. On DraftKings, Pickett is more likely to be the fourth or fifth pick than Willis.
I like Pickett at +130 as the first QB taken, but I also took Willis +500 to the Lions on FanDuel.
Data driven betting information
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