It’s finally Draft Day, Nerds! How many times have you watched Kevin Costner say, “I want my picks back, and I want David goddamn Putney, just because I feel like it!”? I’ve made it through only twice, but I promise you, it will be on as you read this.
I hosted The Daily Draft Report on the Campus2Canton podcast feed and was able to talk with more than 60 draft analysts about over 75 prospects. The narratives around this draft and every prospect have varied wildly, as in any draft I can remember. We know nothing, and this could be the wildest first round we’ve ever seen.
How Many QBs go in Round 1?
The QB position is the most important in football; that’s not a secret. Nor is it unspoken that this is one of the weakest classes for the position in recent history. I’ve watched the arc throughout the offseason. Our industry has ebbed and flowed through different trajectories for each of the prospects, and we aren’t any more settled than we were on January 11th.
The Panthers (6th pick), Falcons (8th), Seahawks (9th), and Steelers (20th) all need QBs now and now have draft capital. New Orleans at pick 19 could go QB or roll with Jameis Winston. A team with an aging vet like the Commanders (11th) could also make a splash and target a QB. Plus, Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo could still find their way into new situations and possibly inexpensively.
The QBs most likely to be drafted tonight are Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and possibly Matt Corral. All four have talent, and all four have many questions and concerns. Pickett is likely the first off the board but had one great season after several massively inconsistent. Willis has the most upside but possibly the lowest floor of crashing and burning, out of the league in three years. Ridder has been on a roller coaster, and he was my QB5 in January and now seems to be a consensus first-round QB. And Corral has questions but arguably an upside just below Willis,’ but many see his floor low.
The consensus is very much in disagreement on how many will ultimately go in the first round. In most places, the over/under is 2.5, but I have seen 3.5, and I would take that under if you are a betting person. Where I am leaning at this point is under on the 2.5 as well.
I think two QBs get drafted in round one, but I am not putting a lot of money on that one. I don’t think we see more than three, yet at the same time, we could see as many as four.
Do We Have a Day 1 RB?
The short answer is no, but the way I see many mock drafts go with people I trust, Breece Hall could get that elite draft capital. The Buffalo Bills are the sexy pick at #25 to take the Iowa State back. Perhaps the Eagles, Cardinals, or Chiefs take a stab at RB, but I don’t see them as serious options in the opening round.
It all depends who is on the board, and I could see the Bills passing for another outstanding player – some elite defenders could be in play. Hall could be there at pick 57; if not, Kenneth Walker III should be, and the Bills could take that route.
Ultimately, I am leaning toward not seeing an RB selected on day one, and I would take the under on a 0.5 bet on that. Not betting the farm, but I would be more comfortable with a bit more on it.
The Money Makers: WIDE RECEIVERS
Man, I wish I could go back and be a WR. I would work harder and give everything I got! Receivers were making bank this offseason, and this incoming crop of WRs is deep and has some potential WR1s.
I have four in that tier; Garrett Wilson, Treylon Burks, Jameson Williams, and Drake London. This quartet has the potential to be a WR1 on any team they land. All four are vastly similar and bring such different skill sets. Wilson is refined, reliable, and catches everything. Burks can outmuscle any DB and has deceptive speed for a massive framed WR with monstrous hands. Williams destroyed college football last year and has yet to show what his ceiling is. London is another big WR with great run after the catch ability, and we’ve barely seen what he is capable of. These four, I believe, have their names called tonight.
A couple of other guys could hear their names called, and we could see a historic first round for receivers. Six times in the last decade, six WRs were taken in round one, and I believe that is the sweet spot tonight. Receivers like Chris Olave, Skyy Moore, Jahan Dotson, and even George Pickens – I HIGHLY doubt Pickens – have been mocked as possible first-round picks.
A litany of teams have the need, and six going in the first round is within the realm of possibility. The Texans (3rd), Jets (4th, 10th), Giants (5th, 7th), Commanders (11th), Eagles (15th, 18th), Packers (22nd, 28th), Titans (26th), and Chiefs (29th, 30th) all have a WR need. The Packers and Chiefs could theoretically each take two even. It could be a huge night for the receiver class.
The over/under is at 5.5 in most places. That’s right on the line and a bet I am uncomfortable with. I think it’s either five or six go in round one. The depth of the position could have some teams wait, and only four or five get selected. Or the teams go nuts and see the depth of other positions, and we see seven go in round one. Personally, I am going the under, and I believe we see five WRs taken tonight.
Whose Down with IDP? Yeah, You Know Me!
I won’t bore all of you with the IDP too much, as I know most don’t dabble in the format. This draft is chocked full of some nasty IDP assets, and we will see many of them taken tonight in Las Vegas.
The biggest names are Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. Both guys should see their names called within the first ten picks, and both have the potential to be top IDP EDGE guys for the next decade. I love Thibo’s upside, and he has remained the top player in the class for me since the first ranking set I put together on the class.
Purdue’s George Karlaftis, Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, and Georgia’s Travon Walker should all be called to the podium early. They will be in the DE/EDGE discussions for a long time, and all possess DL1/DL2 potential in IDP. Georgia’s beastly DT Jordan Davis will also find his name in lights tonight and could be a strong IDP asset in DT-premium leagues.
I love this linebacker class; I think we could see several strong IDP performers led by Utah’s Devin Lloyd. He’s a slightly older prospect but does it all and should be the first LB off the board in the middle of the first round. Georgia’s Nakobe Dean or Wyoming’s Chad Muma has a shot at first-round capital, and I love their IDP prospects. I think Dean makes the cut tonight, and we hear Muma’s name tomorrow night.
The cornerbacks are fun, and we will see at least four go off the board in the first round. Derek Stingley Jr, from LSU, is the marquee name and has the highest potential in the class. Don’t count out Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. Both guys play like alpha dogs and can get after receivers. Washington’s Trent McDuffie and Florida’s Kaiir Elam may also find their names called tonight.
Finally, the safeties! Golden-Domer Kyle Hamilton is the marquee name, and he’s my second-highest rated player in the class. He can do everything and will be an S-T-U-D in the NFL. Lewis Cine from Georgia and Daxton Hill from Michigan may also be drafted tonight, and both are excellent IDP assets. Cine is my favorite safety in the class; he plays like he’s the best player on the field, and he played with half a dozen other defenders who will be drafted this year.
The over/under on defensive players taken in the first round are vastly listed at 15.5. I am going to take the over on that number. The depth of receivers and lack of QB and RB first-round options will push the defensive number up. I keep coming up with 17 for defensive guys, so I like the 15.5 number.
Grab a Beer and Have a Seat!
The offseason is often a slog as we wait for the next big event in our schedules. Where we can have a seat and enjoy something happening in the game we love! No more Twitter arguments, wild takes, arguments over nothing. It’s time to get down to an actual event.
Most of all, take everything I say with a grain of salt. Football is my favorite sport. I love casually betting, and I will make every wager I noted above, but I don’t bet much money. I doubt I put more than $60 on the draft because I love it, and cash ruins my enjoyment. Football is my escape, and I don’t want to stress about it!
We’ve made it Draft Day. Watch Costner’s portrayal of a terrible GM one more time, and let’s get down to the 2022 NFL Draft. Thank you, everyone, for reading all of the Dynasty Nerds’ profiles! We have tons more coverage coming after the weekend!
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