2021 NFL Draft Props
The 2021 NFL Draft is on April 29, and while teams are focused on getting the best players they can, there is a separate theater of intrigue on draft night, especially the first round. That concerns the various propositions involving teams, players, and position groups. How will the dominoes fall on draft night, and which players are more likely to rise or fall on draft boards? Let’s process that information on several different levels.
First Defensive Player Picked
The best bet is Micah Parsons of Penn State, priced at +200. Parsons is simply a beast, a complete prospect at linebacker. Parsons is fast and strong. He can handle pass coverage and run-stuffing responsibilities. He can shed blocks to flow to the ball and make a tackle at the first point of contact, instead of allowing a running back to bounce off his body and gain extra yards. Parsons will be a factor as a pass rusher as well. He does not have a glaring weakness, and he has higher-end skills than the other linebackers on the board in the draft.
Many people love Patrick Surtain II of Alabama, who is the favorite at -120, but when you realize that the Buccaneers contained the Chiefs in the Super Bowl with a highly physical style of play – and more balance between run and pass, as opposed to a finesse style – teams might gravitate toward Parsons and his physicality than to Surtain, even though Surtain’s talent isn’t questioned. Parsons might be the better pick in the top 10, where both players are expected to be chosen.
Other players under consideration: Jaycee Horn +400, Kwity Paye +550, Jaelan Phillips +1200
No. 2 Pick
This is a case where the logical pick is not necessarily the pick which will actually be made. Purely based on logic, Zach Wilson of BYU should not be the No. 2 pick. He doesn’t have the throwing arm or the pocket-passing consistency of other quarterbacks in the draft. An NFL general manager should not take him at No. 2. However, the Jets and general manager Joe Douglas offer every appearance that they will in fact pick Wilson after Trevor Lawrence goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1.
The Jets seem to have made up their mind, so Zach Wilson at -2500 is the right choice, though not necessarily the one New York ought to be making.
Other players under consideration: Justin Fields +700, Trey Lance +2000, Penei Sewell +4000
First Running Back Taken
This is a slam dunk. Alabama won the national championship in college football last season, with Najee Harris of Alabama hurdling a Notre Dame defender in the College Football Playoff semifinals before helping the Crimson Tide blast Ohio State in the national championship game. Harris is the heavy favorite at -150, with Travis Etienne of Clemson – who didn’t have a great playoff semifinal versus Ohio State – being the second choice at +160.
Other players under consideration: Javonte Williams +475
Where Will Ja’Marr Chase Be Taken?
Over pick No. 6: +150
Under pick No. 6: -200
The Cincinnati Bengals could take Ja’Marr Chase at No. 5, but they seem to be leaning toward Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell. The main source of drama here is the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4. If they take Kyle Pitts or any other non-Chase player, the Bengals would take Sewell at No. 5, and that would mean Chase would go no higher than No. 6 in the draft.
There is also a chance the Falcons will trade their fourth pick to another team which wants to move up in the draft. If that happens, Chase will not go at No. 4. The other team – maybe the Denver Broncos – would be in the market for a quarterback, not a receiver. There are more avenues for the under pick to hit here, so go with the under.