2019 NFL Draft: Who Will Be Drafted on Day 1?

2019 NFL Draft: Who Will Be Drafted on Day 1? article feature image

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Jacobs

  • The 2019 NFL Draft begins on April 25 and will be held in Nashville, TN.
  • Matthew Freedman breaks down all the Day 1 props for players and position groups.

Each day, I publish 1-2 pieces on props I like. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.

After the NFL combine, some props for the 2019 draft were released at various sportsbooks, but now a whole new round of props has entered the market.

The draft is less than two weeks, and for the first time ever it will be held in Nashville, TN.

Here’s the schedule for the seven rounds.

  • Thursday, April 25: Round 1
  • Friday, April 26: Rounds 2-3
  • Saturday, April 27: Rounds 4-7

In this piece, I break down all of the new Day 1 props and note which ones I’m betting.

Defensive Players Selected in Round 1

  • Over 16.5: -150
  • Under 16.5: +110

Last year, Evan Silva was the most accurate mock drafter in the industry. Over the past five years, Ben Standig has been the best NFL draft prognosticator.

In their most recent drafts, Silva and Standig respectively have 17 and 18 defenders going in Round 1. When I update my mock draft, I expect to be heavy on defense as well.

In a class with more talent on the defensive side of the ball, I’ll take the over, although I wouldn’t bet it past -150.

The Pick: Over 16.5 (-150)

Offensive Players Selected in Round 1

  • Over 15.5: +110
  • Under 15.5: -150

Same song, second verse.

The Pick: Under 15.5 (-150)

Quarterback Kyler Murray Draft Position

  • Over 2.5: +300
  • Under 2.5: -500

In January, I bet under 28.5 at +100 odds. Those were the days. In February, I bet on him at +500 to be the No. 1 pick. I think he has less than a 3% chance of falling past No. 2.

I’d bet under 2.5 to -1000.

The Pick: Under 2.5 (-500)

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Draft Position

  • Over 10.5: +100
  • Under 10.5: -140

The NFL is reportedly starting to cool on Haskins. He is still in the top 10 of most mocks — Silva has him going to the Raiders at No. 4 — but Standig has him at No. 11 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

I lean to the under, but with the extra juice factored in, I’ll stay away for now.

The Pick: Pass

Will the Top Two Picks Both Be Quarterbacks?

  • No: -5000
  • Yes: +2000

From a micro perspective, when I look at the individual prospects, I think it’s rather unlikely two quarterbacks will be drafted at the very top of the board. This is not a strong quarterback class.

But from a macro perspective, I see that it’s not especially unlikely. It happened in 2016 with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.

It happened in 2015 with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

It happened in 2012 with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

Over the past decade, it’s happened three times.

When it comes to quarterbacks, it’s not uncommon for teams to behave irrationally. Would it really be all that surprising if a team traded up and used the 49ers’ No. 2 pick to select a quarterback?

At +2000, the implied probability of the first two picks going to quarterbacks is just 4.8%. I think the true odds are closer to 8%. Maybe 10%.

I’d bet “Yes” down to +1500.

The Pick: Yes (+2000)

Quarterbacks Selected in Round 1 

  • Over 3.5: -200
  • Under 3.5: +150

After the combine, I bet under 3.5 at +130 odds, so the market has moved against me, and that’s not a good sign.

Murray and Haskins are locked-in first-rounders. After them, Drew Lock has reportedly drawn interest from teams, especially the Denver Broncos, who own pick No. 10. I don’t think of Lock as a first-rounder, but apparently he will be one.

But after Lock, I just don’t see any quarterback who warrants a Day 1 selection. Daniel Jones has somehow emerged as a potential first-rounder, but he massively underwhelmed at Duke, where he had just 6.2 adjusted yards per attempt.

Jones looks like an NFL quarterback in terms of his size and arm strength, but the numbers clearly suggest that he’s unworthy of premium investment.

No one who knows anything about football — no scout, no reporter, no analyst, no executive — is saying that this year’s quarterback class is strong. In fact, they’re all saying the exact opposite. The 2019 cohort of quarterbacks is remarkably unextraordinary.

Additionally, there aren’t all that many teams that need quarterbacks, especially after five were drafted on Day 1 last year.

And it should be noted that last year’s cohort was rare. Over the past decade, three quarterbacks per year (on average) have been selected in Round 1. In fact, the under of 3.5 has hit in seven of the past 10 years.

In the three years when four-plus quarterbacks were taken in Round 1, those classes were especially deep at the position.

That’s simply not the case this year.

Both Silva and Standig have Jones mocked to the Giants at No. 17, and that pick makes a lot of sense, because the team will eventually need to replace quarterback Eli Manning — but I still struggle to see Jones as an actual Day 1 pick.

But that doesn’t mean the NFL sees it my way. Jones has been invited to attend the draft, and he’s accepted, which means that the league and Jones’ agent believe he will be selected on Day 1.

These 23 prospects will attend the 2019 @NFLDraft in Nashville! #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/T8EFIwO8Qm

— NFL (@NFL) April 9, 2019

But it’s not uncommon for draft-attending quarterbacks to experience precipitous drops. It happened to Aaron Rodgers in 2006. He thought he might be a top-five pick. Instead, he went off the board at No. 24.

And Geno Smith famously fell out of Round 1 altogether in 2013, when just one quarterback was selected in the top 32.

By the way, 2019 is a lot like 2013. Right now, we have a weak quarterback class, and there’s diminished demand at the position because eight Round 1 quarterbacks have entered the league over the past two years. In 2013, the quarterback prospects were mediocre, and teams didn’t have many needs at the position because 2011-12 had great classes that produced eight first-rounders.

There’s enough smoke around Jones to believe that the Giants have a fire for him — and the football gawds know how clueless the Giants are when it comes to valuing quarterbacks — so I’m staying away from this prop.

But there’s a significant part of me that wants to get as much action as I can on the under at +150.

The Pick: Pass

Edge Nick Bosa Draft Position

  • Over 2.5: +200
  • Under 2.5: -300

It’s possible that a team could trade up to No. 2 to draft a quarterback — I touched on that possibility earlier — but I am yet to see Bosa mocked outside of the top two, and he’s generally regarded as the best overall player in the class.

I’d bet under 2.5 to -800.

The Pick: Under 2.5 (-300)

Defensive Tackle Quinnen Williams Draft Position

  • Over 3.5: -120
  • Under 3.5: -120

I personally think that Williams is the most impressive player in the class, but almost every mock I’ve seen has Williams going at either No. 3 to the New York Jets or No. 4 to the Oakland Raiders.

If there’s strong early interest in quarterbacks, then Williams will almost certainly fall outside of the top three, but this line is just about perfect.

The Pick: Pass

Running Backs Selected in Round 1 

  • Over 1.0: +200
  • Under 1.0: -300

This is pretty much a Josh Jacobs prop.

The Alabama back is the only realistic Round 1 candidate at the position, so I don’t like this line. To be generous, the over has less than a 5% chance of hitting, so there’s no value there.

But Jacobs has maybe a 50% chance of being selected on Day 1, so there’s way too much juice on the under.

I’m staying away.

The Pick: Pass

Alabama Players Selected in Round 1 

  • Over 2.5: -160
  • Under 2.5: +120

This is basically another Josh Jacobs prop — but it’s far friendlier. Quinnen Williams is locked into Round 1, as is offensive lineman Jonah Williams. After them, Jacobs is the primary Alabama player to consider.

Safety Deionte Thompson has seen his draft stock decline over the past few months. And I like tight end Irv Smith Jr. quite a bit, but he now seems likelier to be a Day 2 pick: He’s at best the No. 3 tight end in the class.

So this prop will likely come down to Jacobs. Given that I think he’s about a coin flip to be a first-rounder, I’ll take the plus odds but wouldn’t bet the under any lower.

The Pick: Under 2.5 (+120)

Wide Receivers Selected in Round 1 

  • Over 2.5: -120
  • Under 2.5: -120

Just last month, I bet over 3.5 at -140 odds, so I must be a donkey. Maybe I have no sense of this wide receiver class at all.

I wouldn’t be surprised if only 1 WR went in 1st round.

— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 10, 2019

But I think this receiving cohort is strong, and others in the industry agree. And historically when a class has been strong at receiver, Round 1 has been heavy on the position.

Over the past decade, 3.8 wide receivers per year have been drafted as first-rounders. The over of 2.5 has hit in eight of the past 10 years.

And this bears repeating: THIS IS A GOOD WIDE RECEIVER CLASS.

Each year, the NFL becomes more of a pass-focused league, so it makes sense for wide receivers to be valued.

Thanks to his combine performance, D.K. Metcalf seems highly likely to he a first-rounder. I am yet to see a mock with him not in Round 1.

After Metcalf, there are six wide receivers who all have realistic chances of being first-rounders.

  • A.J. Brown
  • Marquise Brown
  • Hakeem Butler
  • Parris Campbell
  • N’Keal Harry
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

The odds are that at least two of these guys will be selected in Round 1: These wide receivers are too good, and too many teams need help at the position, for that not to be the case.

I’d bet the over to -150.

The Pick: Over 2.5 (-120)

When Will the First Wide Receiver Be Drafted?

  • Over 19.5: +110
  • Under 19.5: -150

D.K. Metcalf is almost always the first wide receiver off the board in mock drafts, usually in the top half of Round 1. With all the talent at the position in this class, I think it’s probable that at least one wide receiver will be drafted before pick No. 20.

I’ll take the under but wouldn’t bet it any lower than -150.

The Pick: Under 19.5 (-150)

No. 1 Overall Pick

  • Kyler Murray: -400
  • Nick Bosa: +300
  • Quinnen Williams: +500
  • Josh Allen: +2500

At -400, Murray has an 80% implied probability of being selected with the first pick. It has been maybe six weeks since I’ve seen anyone other than him mocked at No. 1.

His true odds of being the top pick are probably in excess of 95%.

I’d bet on him to -800.

The Pick: Murray (-400)

For daily player props, follow me in The Action Network app.

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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