Saturday, June 25, 2022

Bold predictions for the NFL Draft, plus best bets for first round and a final mock draft

It’s finally here! The 87th annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting is upon us. Sure, most people call it the NFL Draft, but I’m a purist, so I’m going to call it by its formal name and that’s the event’s formal name. 

Actually, I just realized that writing out “National Football League Player Selection Meeting” over and over for this entire newsletter will roughly add three extra hours of work for me, so let’s go with NFL Draft

Although no one seems to know anything about this year’s draft, one thing I do know is that what happens in Vegas tonight definitely isn’t going to be staying in Vegas. 

With the draft just hours away, we’re going all draft today in the newsletter: We’ve got our final mock draft, we’ve got some bold predictions and we’re going to give you some best bets that are even better than the best bets we gave you yesterday. 

By the way, if your first question about the draft is “How do I watch it tonight?” We went ahead and answered that question here (It kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network). 

If you’re feeling slightly OCD today and want to keep track of the entire draft order from pick 1 to pick 262, you can do that by clicking here. If you want to check out all the draft coverage we’ve produced this offseason at CBS Sports, feel free to click here

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link

1. Today’s show: Bold predictions for the NFL Draft

We love making predictions on the Pick Six podcast, so that’s exactly what we did for today’s episode. with the NFL Draft kicking off tonight, I got together with Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and Tyler Sullivan and we each made three bold predictions about what’s going to happen tonight. 

Since there were four of us and we each gave three predictions, that should equal 12, but you’re only getting 11 because Brinson got lazy and only made two predictions. 

Here’s a look at what we’re predicting for tonight: 

BREECH

  • 1. Only one QB selected in first round (This has only happened one time since 2002 and that came in 2013). 
  • 2. Top-five picks are all defensive players (This hasn’t happened since the 1991 draft). 
  • 3. Jameson Williams gets drafted by the Chiefs or Packers

WILSON

  • 1. No quarterback gets drafted in the top 10, but there will be a run on QBs late in the first round. 
  • 2. Seven wide receivers get selected in the first round (The last time seven or more receivers got drafted in the first round was 2004). 
  • 3. At least one running back goes in the first round (NOTE: I let Wilson know that this prediction doesn’t qualify as bold because a running back has gone in the first round in each of the past SEVEN drafts and he laughed at me). 

SULLIVAN

  • 1. Titans select a QB in the first round.
  • 2. Jameson Williams is first receiver taken. 
  • 3. EJ Perry becomes first Ivy League QB to be taken in 17 years. 

BRINSON

  • 1. Jordan Davis goes in top 10. Davis’ projections have been all over the place with some people not even having him in their top 15. 
  • 2. Lions take Kayvon Thibodeaux. The general school of thought is that the Lions will pounce on Aidan Hutchinson if he’s available, but Brinson boldly thinks they’re going with Thibodeaux. 

If you want the full explanation for each prediction, then be sure to click here so you can listen to today’s podcast. You can also watch today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here. If you want more bold predictions, Cody Benjamin has five more that you can check out by clicking here

Also, if you’re not already subscribed to the Pick Six YouTube channel, I’d recommend doing that now, if only because it means you’ll be getting a heavy dose of me over the next 72 hours while we cover the NFL Draft. 

2. Ryan Wilson’s final mock draft

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USATSI

Ryan Wilson has done so many mock drafts this offseason that I’ve completely lost count of how many he’s done. If he told me the number was 700, I would believe it. I mean, I’m 90% sure Wilson hasn’t seen his family in three months. 

The good news for Wilson (and his family) is that they might actually get to hang out some point soon and that’s because Ryan just completed his final 2022 mock draft. The biggest twist in his final mock draft is that Wilson has five defensive players going with the first five picks, which hasn’t happened since 1991. He also has one QB going in his top 10. 

With that in mind, let’s check out the top 15 picks in Wilson’s final mock:

  • 1. Jaguars: DL Travon Walker (Georgia)
  • 2. Lions: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
  • 3. Texans: CB Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)
  • 4. Jets: EDGE Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State)
  • 5. Giants: CB Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)
  • 6. PanthersOL Evan Neal (Alabama) 
  • 7. Giants: OL Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
  • 8. Falcons: QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
  • 9. Seahawks: OL Ikem Ekwonu (North Carolina State)
  • 10. Jets: WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
  • 11. Commanders: WR Drake London (USC) 
  • 12. Vikings: DL Jordan Davis (Georgia) 
  • 13. Texans: WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
  • 14. Ravens: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
  • 15. Eagles: DL Devonte Wyatt (Georgia) 

If you want to see how the rest of the first round plays out and, trust me, you do, then you’re going to want to click here. If you feel like Ryan Wilson hates your favorite team and you’d rather read someone else’s mock draft, then you can click here to check out Pete Prisco’s final mock and here to check out NFL insider Jason La Canfora’s one-and-only mock. You can also check out the final mock draft from Josh Edwards by clicking here

3. NFL insider notes: Jaguars split on top pick, Eagles looking to trade up

With just hours to go until the start of the NFL Draft, I think I can unequivocally say that this could end up being one of the craziest drafts of all time. No one seems to have any idea what’s going to happen, which makes sense, because how can anyone predict anything when the team with the top pick can’t even decide what it wants to do. 

That team is the Jaguars and apparently, the front office is split on what to do tonight. That’s the word from CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones, who shared a few thoughts before the start of the draft. 

  • Jaguars split on first pick. “The betting markets seem convinced the Jags will take Travon Walker No. 1 overall. I and the rest of the league wish we could be as confident. I’ve heard team owner Shad Khan is leaning toward Aidan Hutchinson. And GM Trent Baalke seems to be infatuated with Walker. Offensive tackle has an outside chance of happening even with the three-year deal with Cam Robinson.” (Note from Breech: I don’t think Khan will overrule Baalke so it feels like Walker is probably going to be the pick, but the Jags are unpredictable, so who knows). 
  • Texans eyeing a defensive player at No. 3. “There’s a ton of smoke around Houston and Derek Stingley Jr. For what it’s worth, I’m told Lovie Smith is — pardon the pun — in love with Walker at No. 3. But it’s Nick Caserio’s decision to make here. I’d think getting a versatile player like Walker who can line up in different positions no matter what the head coach’s scheme is would help the Texans more.”
  • Eagles looking to trade up. “To no one’s surprise, Eagles GM Howie Roseman is waiting in the weeds for a potential trade up. I’m told he’s talked to teams in the top 10 but that no substantive offers or parameters have been discussed. If he trades up, the opinion is that it’ll be for Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton or his top wide receiver.” (Note: With two first-round picks — 15 and 18 — the Eagles have more than enough ammunition to move up). 

If you want to check out the rest of Jones’ insider notes, then be sure to click here

4. Best bets for the NFL Draft 

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USATSI

The only thing more exciting than watching the NFL Draft is making money while watching the NFL Draft and you can actually do that this year if you live in a state that allows you to gamble on draft props. If you don’t live in a state that allows you to gamble on draft props, you have until 8 p.m. ET tonight to drive to one so that you can bet on the draft.

Our props today are coming from SportsLine’s R.J. White, who has won way more money on gambling than me over the years. White made a list of his 10 favorite props and I’m going to share three of them with you. White’s props are behind a paywall over at SportsLine.com, so if I’m not around tomorrow, it’s because I got fired for sharing something behind a paywall. 

From White: 

  • First receiver drafted: Garrett Wilson (+110). “Wilson seems like an ideal pick for the Falcons at No. 8 with former top wideout Calvin Ridley’s future in doubt, and I’d expect them to dive into a much stronger receiver class with their top pick rather than go quarterback, especially when next year could be the right time to target a signal-caller.”
  • First QB drafted: Kenny Pickett (+160). “Right now, Malik Willis is the clear favorite to be taken first at the position, but Pickett seems like the more pro-ready option, and this is a year where multiple teams could be looking at taking a quarterback to come in and play on Day One after an incredible amount of QB movement during the offseason.”
  • Position of Packers first player drafted: Defensive lineman/edge rusher (+450). “Wide receiver is the runaway favorite for this prop at -180, but year in and year out we say this is the draft where they prioritizing receiving help for Aaron Rodgers, yet it never happens. With longtime No. 1 receiver Davante Adams out the door, the need is certainly more pressing than usual. The world more and more convinced the Packers will go receiver with their first pick, but I think doing so will require a trade up. That might be the plan for Green Bay, but if they can’t find a trade partner, I love the value on this play.”

From Breech:

  • Total cornerbacks selected in the first round: OVER 4.5 (+110). To win this prop, you need five corners to be selected and I think it’s going to happen because of how deep the corner class is this year. For one, we might see two corners off the board in the top 10 with Derek Stingley and Ahmad Gardner. After that, there will still be plenty of first-round talents available with guys like Trent McDuffie, Kair Elam, Andrew Booth and Kyler Gordon. 
  • Matt Araiza draft spot: OVER 124.5 (-110). After thinking about this prop for roughly 17 straight hours, I think the over is going to hit here. Araiza is one of the best punting prospects to come along in awhile, but teams hate drafting punters early. Also, Araiza comes with one big question mark and that’s the fact that no one knows if he can hold for kicks (he didn’t have to hold at San Diego State because he was the team’s placekicker and he couldn’t hold for himself). I think that will be enough to drop him to the bottom half of the fourth round or early fifth round. Only two punters since 2010 have been taken before the 124th overall pick (Bryan Anger in 2012 and Mitch Wishnowsky in 2019). 

To see the rest of White’s favorite prop bets, you’ll have to head over to SportsLine, which you can do by clicking here. If you’re interested in getting a SportsLine subscription, which I would highly recommend for anyone who loves to gamble on sports, be sure to click here. If you subscribe now, you can currently get your first three months for just $4.99 total (And just to be clear, that’s not $4.99 per month, that’s $4.99 for ALL three months).

5. Ranking the top-five players ever taken with the No. 1 overall pick

The newsletter isn’t the only thing I was in charge of writing today. Over the past month, we’ve been ranking the top draft picks of all time here at CBS Sports. Since there are 32 picks in the first round, we went through and listed the top-five picks ever for each one of those 32 spots and I was put in charge of ranking the five best players to ever be selected with the first overall pick.

Without further ado, here’s the ranking that I’m sure everyone will agree with: 

1. Peyton Manning (1998, Colts)

2. John Elway (1983, Colts)

3. Bruce Smith (1985, Bills)

4. Terry Bradshaw (1970, Steelers)

5. Chuck Bednarik (1949, Eagles)

Bonus mention: John Matuszak (Oilers, 1973). You might not know Matuszak’s name based on his football career, but you’ve probably seen him on TV at least once in your life, especially if you’ve ever seen The Goonies. The football player turned actor played Sloth in the 1985 movie. 

I don’t even know whom the Jaguars are going to pick tonight, but I can say with a 99.9% confidence that whomever it is will likely not ever crack this list. If you want to yell at me about rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. You can also read my justification for each ranking by checking out the full story here

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Cardinals pick up Kyler Murray’s fifth-year option

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USATSI

It was a wild 24 hours around the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Cards pick up Kyler’s option. In what might go down as the easiest decision of all time for the Cardinals, they picked up Murray’s fifth-year option, which means he’s now under contract through the 2023 season. Murray still wants a new contract and this won’t impact negotiations, it’s just a move the Cardinals had to make now because the last day for picking up a player’s fifth-year option is May 2 (Only players drafted in the first round have a fifth-year option on their contract). 
  • Giants don’t pick up Daniel Jones‘ option. It looks like the Giants are in the market again for another franchise QB after reportedly deciding today not to pick up Jones’ fifth-year option for 2023. Jones, of course, could still wind up in New York moving forward but will have to prove he’s worth it in 2022. 
  • Peyton Manning establishes scholarship for Demaryius Thomas. The Hall of Fame QB has set up a scholarship at Georgia Tech in honor of Thomas, who died in December. The scholarship will be open to incoming freshmen from Laurens County — the area in Georgia where Thomas was grew up — or people with need from surrounding areas. For more details, be sure to click here

  • Darren Waller says he’s not getting traded. There had been some speculation that the Raiders star might get traded during the draft, but he shot that down this week. “Yeah, I’ve had talks with the team and they said that’s not a thing that’s happening and there’s no trade that’s going to happen,” Waller told CBS Sports Radio’s Zach Gelb. You can listen to the interview by clicking here
  • Sean Payton close to deal with Fox. It looks like Sean Payton isn’t going to be out of a job much longer. Three months after announcing his retirement, the New York Post is reporting that the former Saints coach is nearing a deal with Fox. If he takes the job, he’ll be featured on the network’s NFL pregame shows. 
  • Panthers owner gives Matt Rhule a vote of confidence. Although the Panthers have struggled under Rhule, David Tepper gave his coach a vote of confidence this week. “I do believe that Coach Rhule and [GM Scott Fitterer] are doing a great job creating that foundation,” Tepper said, via the team’s website. The vote of confidence is usually the first sign that you’re actually on the hot seat, so maybe Rhule is actually on the hot seat heading into the 2022 season. 
  • Laremy Tunsil turning gas mask into NFT. Tunsil is going to try to make some money off of his infamous draft night bong video that leaked out in 2016. The Texans offensive lineman is planning to sell an NFT of the video and although I’ve never purchased an NFT in my life, I might bid on this one. 

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