2018 NFL Draft Props Analysis: Is Calvin Ridley WR1 Material?
The fine folks at Bookmaker.eu have released a batch of props for the 2018 NFL draft. Note that we already touched on many props in our early-April piece on BetOnline’s available wagers.
First WR Taken in the 2018 NFL Draft?
- Calvin Ridley -220
- Courtland Sutton +200
- D.J. Moore +300
- James Washington +2000
- Christian Kirk +2177
- Field +3500
The field contains potential ballers such as Michael Gallup and D.J. Chark, but the battle for WR1 status in the 2018 draft is largely a three-man race. Washington and Kirk were both productive during their collegiate careers and flashed game-breaking ability, although they’re likely to be drafted after a few other receivers due to their lack of refinement coming from wide-open Oklahoma State and Texas A&M offenses.
If the No. 1 receiver weren’t Ridley, Sutton, or Moore, it would be an upset.
- Ridley is widely considered the draft’s best route runner, and he flashed as a freshman before falling off with Jalen Hurts (essentially a running back) at quarterback. His lack of overall production is especially concerning given his age (23).
- Sutton is the Dez Bryant of the draft class. He’s a big-bodied baller capable of physically taking over games, but he’s far from a finished product. His upside could warrant WR1 status, although his lack of refinement as a route runner is scary for anyone looking for immediate production at the position.
- Moore has excelled with numerous quarterbacks, and he has the athletic ability and build of a running back. He might not have the ceiling of Sutton, but he’s a tantalizing talent and still just 20 years old.
My Lean: Moore +300. Sutton +200 also offers value. Ridley faces very real questions about his size and age. Meanwhile, Sutton and Moore have plenty of momentum after each balled out at the combine. Sutton is the top-ranked receiver in our WR Rankings, and Moore tops plenty of rankings across the industry. Take the value in a three-man tossup.
Which NFL Team Will Draft Baker Mayfield?
- Field -450
- Miami Dolphins +331
- Baltimore Ravens +634
- Cincinnati Bengals +702
- Arizona Cardinals +828
The Dolphins lead the pack of potential suitors for Baker Mayfield at pick No. 11, but it’d be very surprising if he lasts that long. Mayfield’s current draft position prop on BetOnline sits at 6.5 with a heavy -250 lean on the under. Each of the listed teams would almost certainly need to trade up in order to secure one of the draft’s top-four quarterbacks.
My Lean: Stay away. The top-five picks belongs to quarterback-needy teams in the Browns, Giants, Jets, and Broncos. If you want action on Mayfield, consider the aforementioned BetOnline prop where you can replace “the Field” with “pick number under 6.5” at -250. Mayfield is second in our post-combine quarterback rankings.
First DB Taken in the 2018 NFL Draft?
The race to be the first defensive back drafted boils down to three key contestants. Jackson made a case as the country’s best corner with eight interceptions as a junior, but an otherwise underwhelming collegiate career and mediocre combine will cause him to be drafted outside the top 10. The Field doesn’t appear to have much of a chance despite boasting studs such as Louisville corner Jaire Alexander and Tennessee safety Rashaan Golden.
Fitzpatrick, Ward, and James are all very talented, and they each boast different skill sets.
- Fitzpatrick worked in a variety of roles with the Crimson Tide and largely excelled at whatever he was asked to do. Still, his 13 total snaps at outside cornerback in 2017 have led to questions about his NFL position and status as a top-10 pick.
- James is the purest safety of the three players and might just be the draft’s freakiest athlete. While his natural ability shines on tape at times, his best collegiate football came before he tore his meniscus as a sophomore.
- Ward is poised to become the Buckeyes’ fourth first-round cornerback since 2016 thanks to his combination of elite speed and man-coverage skills. He’s not as physically imposing as Fitzpatrick or James, but Ward faces the fewest questions about his fit at the next level among the trio.
My Lean: Ward at +167 provides value. Fitzpatrick and James have regularly appeared at the top of mock drafts for months, and it’s anyone’s guess whom draft evaluators actually prefer. In a matchup between three players every bit as talented as one another, take the one with the least questions about schematic fit and injury history.
Lamar Jackson over (-264) under (+190) pick 16.5: We pounded Jackson’s under when it started at pick 32.5, again at 17.5, and here we are at 16.5. Even if teams do view him as the fifth-best quarterback in the class, his status as potentially the No. 1 athlete in the entire draft helps his cause. Jackson is a special athlete regardless of his rawness as a passer, and special athletes typically are selected in the first round sooner rather than later.
Total Defensive Players Drafted in 1st Round over (-200) under (+155) 14.5: BookMaker’s current over/unders props imply that nine running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks will go off the board in Round 1. Our most-recent mock draft has eight offensive linemen and one tight end among the draft’s top 32. This inexact science produces an estimated 17/15 offensive/defensive split in the first round. At least 15 defensive prospects have been drafted in the first round in each of the past eight drafts.
Alabama Players Taken in the 1st Round over (-350) under (+250) 3.5: The favorites to leave the board on Day 1 for Alabama include Fitzpatrick, Ridley, Rashaan Evans, Da’Ron Payne, and Ronnie Harrison. The first three prospects are seemingly sure-fire Round 1 talents, while Payne and Harrison are on the Rounds 1-2 borderline. Surprisingly, Nick Saban has had more than three players selected in the first round in just one of the last five drafts, so a small wager on the +250 under could be warranted given the lack of sure-fire Crimson Tide first-rounders in a quarterback-heavy class.
Pictured above: Calvin Ridley
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports