NFL Draft Betting: Roll up Ruggs at 11/4 to be the first receiver drafted

It's a couple of weeks until the NFL draft and those of you who haven't already released up your 27th mock may want a few pointers, so here goes...

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We are now two weeks away from the draft, so before we delve into some markets, let’s get an update from the commissioner. In a memo sent to all 32 teams Monday, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the 2020 NFL draft will be conducted “entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format.”

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Essentially the 2020 NFL draft will be like the draft you do in your various fantasy leagues. No war rooms for each NFL franchise. Instead, every member of the front offices and coaching staff will check in from their respective homes. Some teams had looked into holding their drafts at a central meeting point, but the NFL wants all clubs to “operate in a consistent and fair way.”

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This, of course, presents enormous challenges to each NFL team. Not only will player evaluations be tougher, but decisions will not be easier to reach. This could lead to less trades, but it could also lead to more crazy trading. We really are in unchartered territory here. The prospects, who would by now be doing all their team visits, are stuck at home. Players with injury question marks, like Tua Tagovailoa, will be sweating in case the medical uncertainty around them results in a slide down the board.

Against this uncertain backdrop, let’s have a look at just a few of the more than 100 draft markets we have on-site right now…

SANTA CLARA, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: A general view during the singing of the National Anthem before the San Francisco 49ers game against the Chicago Bears at Levi’s Stadium on September 14, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

First Running Back Drafted – Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) @ 17/10

While Georgia’s D’Andre Swift is the odds on favourite at 4/7, Jonathan Taylor looks like a cracking bet here at about 17/10. He was the bell cow for the Badgers for his last two productive seasons in college. Last year he ran for 2,003 yards with 21 TDs, he added 26 receptions and five TDs. He has nice combination of size and power and showed his explosiveness at the combine by running a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash.

Backs with these traits still go early.

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First Wide Receiver Drafted – Henry Ruggs (Alabama) @ 11/4

Jerry Jeudy (5/6) and CeeDee Lamb (17/10) are ahead of the selection in the betting, but it may pay to go for the Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs. He was part of the elite WR corps Alabama had at their disposal in 2019 that also included Jeudy, but it’s Ruggs’ versatility that will appeal here.

Whether it’s on slants, screens or deep plays, he is quite simply a weapon. Ruggs had seven TDs last year and it is his ability to stretch the field after the catch that could be most tempting to teams. Raiders GM Mike Mayock has said his team need playmakers and if there is not an early run on the position, Ruggs could be the first WR off the board.

2020 NFL Draft – Isaiah Simmons Draft Position – Under 6.5 @ 8/11

Clemson linebacker Isiah Simmons is perhaps the most unique player in the draft.

In 2019 he totalled 104 tackles, 7 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions and 8 passes broken up. He can do it all and is the very definition of the “moveable chess piece” defensive coordinators covet so much these days.

6 foot 4, 240 pounds, he is a sideline to sideline defender who is imposing and physical, he sets the tone every game.

Matt Patricia would love him in Detroit at #3, but the Lions could trade out.

Recent reports suggest the NEw York Giants at #4 are smitten with him, the #5 pick is up in the air and Tom Telesco, the Chargers GM sitting at #6 has always been a “Best player available” drafter. It’s worth going for the unders here and hoping some GM is tempted by a player who will immediately improve their entire defensive scheme.

We’ll have more on the draft markets from our NFL watchers next week – if there’s a market you want to be highlighted or a prospect you want to be discussed, please leave a comment.

Don’t get left in the green room on draft night – unless it’s Paddy Power green, of course