We’re in the final straight now. And, as we get nearer to the draft date, more and more misinformation and propaganda will circulate around the 2020 NFL Draft.
This is no ordinary year for the annual event, of course. Many teams will still be genuinely unsure about who to take with their prized first-round pick.
Do you take a great player with the injury red flags that your medical team haven’t been able to check out? Do you take the player who was slow at the combine but looked faster on the field? I doubt there has ever been this much uncertainty in NFL front offices this close to the big day.
The confusion also extends to the TV networks. We are still unsure as to exactly how broadcaster are going to handle this unique situation. We’ve also had plenty of talk that GMs are worried about technical malfunctions, or that they may even be hacked by rivals.
One GM was reportedly worried about one of his children tampering with his draft board while they were on the clock.
But the show is still rumbling on, whether they like it or not.
I caught up with our US sports trader Ian Dent to discuss some of the latest draft gossip. I started off by asking him about Tua Tagovailoa, the Alabama QB who suffered a season-ending hip injury that may be scaring some teams off.
“I am starting to like Tua to the Chargers, we have it at 6/4. It looks like the unusual draft situation will play against Tua with him unable to really show how well he has recovered from his hip injury.
“Justin Herbert may be regarded as the safer pick for the Dolphins ahead of the Chargers in the draft order. I think Washington could also have been tempted at number two, but this seems very unlikely now as Tua is that much more of a risk. Plus, it wouldn’t look good after drafting Haskins in the first round last year, and it also helps that Chase Young appears to be a dynamic and safe pick at two.”
One player with close ties to Tua is Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts. The 21-year-old was famously replaced during Alabama’s sensational national championship overtime victory over Georgia by Tagovailoa, before transferring to the Sooner State to complete his college career.
He is now getting plenty of traction in the media and is rising up boards. As a prospect, he has impeccable character and has reportedly been impressing every organisation with his interviews, as well as attracting gushing praise from NFL reporters.
What do the traders make of his draft chances?
“Draft analyst Mel Kiper predicted this week that Jalen Hurts wouldn’t last past the second round. We have the line at 62.5 for his draft position, with unders favoured at 4/6 at the moment, while he is evens to in the second round and 6/5 to go in the third in our round betting market, with both options well-backed. The Steelers and Patriots both fit the bill as teams looking for a high upside young Quarterback and they may not let Hurts slide out of the second round.”
Mel Kiper on Get Up this morning talking about Jalen Hurts draft stock:
“I am told that people think that he will not get out of round 2 and that the New England Patriots may also have an interest in Jalen Hurts.” pic.twitter.com/VcnCHdAWQg
— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) April 14, 2020
There’s also been a move in the “First 3 picks – exact order” market. Burrow first, Young second and Okudah third is now a solid favourite in the first 3 picks exact order market at 11/8. It was previously Burrow/Young/Tua, but Jeff Okudah, a defensive back from Ohio State has crept into the top three picture at the quarterback’s expense because of the Detroit Lions’ need for secondary reinforcements this offseason and no one else is willing to trade up. Yet.
It all means that Tua Tagovailoa looks set for a slide as events conspire against him. The medical uncertainty must be a factor in teams not moving up, as Detroit are currently open for business if anyone will make them an offer.
The new mechanics of the draft may make it tougher for teams to draw up deals with each other as well, especially when they are on the clock. Tua’s draft position is now 15/8 to be earlier than 3.5 picks. Will this slide continue? Or can Tagovailoa, his agent and the multitudes of PR staff around him can get some positive news out there in the remaining week?
We’ll soon find out.
*All odds correct at time of publication