So, the big day is upon us and It’s going to be a draft like no other. Sky Sports are devoting a whopping seven and a half hours of coverage to the big event.
That includes a full three-hour build-up show that gets underway at 10 o’clock.
📢 TAKEOVER 📢
📼 @MoveTheSticks breakdown the star QBs – Burrow, Tua & Herbert
🏈 Three brand new A Football Life – Lawrence Taylor, Terry Bradshaw & Tony Romo
— Sky Sports NFL (@SkySportsNFL) April 19, 2020
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the 2020 ‘Draft-A-Thon’ will be a chance to give something back amid the fight against COVID-19. NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders are set to host the event, which will include appearances from professional athletes and celebrities such as Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu and comedian Kevin Hart.
The NFL did a practice draft earlier in the week, and, just like your fantasy draft, it started in chaos with a “technical issue”, as the Cincinnati Bengals suffered the glitch on the very first pick.
It’s unclear if Mike Brown was channelling his inner Gettleman and wondering how he was supposed to be working the controls or whether he was trying to draft Zach Baun with the first pick and collapsed the system, but the NFL is now satisfied that all issues have been resolved and they are expecting it to be alright on the night.
Text from a participant on the NFL’s mock draft that started at 1 pm EST. “Mock draft today already technical glitch w Cincinnatis 1st pick!!! Brutal.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 20, 2020
The serious stuff is almost here. Cincinnati will almost certainly select Joe Burrow, the LSU QB who has just had one of the greatest seasons in NCAA history – our traders make it a 1/200 shot that he’s the first player odd the board.
The Redskins are next on the clock and they are fully expected to take Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young – 1/33 to be #2 – who many scouts grade better than fellow-Buckeye, and San Francisco standout Joey Bosa.
Which means the draft should really start at number three. Our US sports trader, Ian Dent, tipped Burrow/Young/Okudah to go 1-2-3 with the first three picks last week, and we caught up with him on the eve of the draft to see what else had caught his eye.
“Our most popular selection in the last 24 hours has been Burrow/Young/Okudah to be the first three picks in that order. It seems like there may not be the originally expected trades from the Dolphins and Chargers to move up to the three slot.
“Detroit won’t be picking a quarterback, so cornerback Okudah makes a lot of sense at a position of need for them.”
As for Tua Tagovailoa’s slide in the betting, has the Alabama QB’s stock fared better this week?
“Tua has actually bounced back in the betting – mostly after reports that the Dolphins do not plan to draft Justin Herbert. Over 5.5 has drifted from as short as 1/2 a week ago to 6/5. He was also popular in the top five pick market, going from 5/6 to 4/6 today.
ESPN's Adam Schefter, this afternoon, on Fins: "Are they going to go for Tua?.. Are they going to pull the upset and go with Jordan Love? We've talked about Justin Herbert to the Dolphins last week. I'm not hearing a lot of that this week." https://t.co/JKzlRqn1cY
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) April 21, 2020
“Tua to the Dolphins is popular at 10/11, so, you’d have to expect Tua to the Dolphins at the fifth pick based on the betting we’ve seen in the last few days.”
Other Draft Betting Moves
“Auburn DT Derrick Brown’s Draft Position has been a big mover – the line on his draft position has gone from 8.5 to 7.5, while the Total Alabama Players Drafted in First Round has seen unders go from evens to 8/11.”
“Also, Isaiah Simmons to the Giants has seen consistent interest – it was 5/1 and is now 7/2.”
While Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, who we flagged up last week as a mover, has seen interest continue to climb. “His draft position line has moved significantly, from 62.5 last week to 54.5 today, and he’s been very popular with punters all week.”
But the markets can tell us so much, and rumours continue to swirl as the clock ticks down to that number one pick.
The latest juicy morsel involves Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy. Reports broke this week that he has a lingering knee issue and that some teams have taken him off their board completely. Jeudy, who was odds on favourite to be the first WR off the board, has now drifted and Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb is the new favourite in that market.
Report: Jerry Jeudy could slide due to knee https://t.co/Nppd7NS1pA
— Rotoworld NFL Draft (@Rotoworld_Draft) April 22, 2020
The big non-draft story in the NFL is the return of Rob Gronkowski. The legendary TE has ended his brief retirement and joined Tom Brady in Tampa Bay in a stunning move. His old team, the Patriots, are worth keeping an eye on as they are 4/1 to draft a QB with their first pick and league whispers suggest they are smitten with Utah State’s QB Jordan Love.
But draft always throws up surprises that nobody had seen coming. Crazy trades, unexpected picks and it’s usually a wild ride. Remember, it only takes one team to fall in love with a prospect to shatter everyone’s draft board and turn it upside down.
*All odds correct at time of posting