The NFL Draft went surprisingly smooth as players, analysts, commentators, league officials, fans, coaches and general managers connected all across the country for the first-ever online-based draft. ESPN, ABC and NFL Network all did an impressive job broadcasting the draft with the COVID-19 pandemic causing an unprecedented change in the sports world. The NFL stood strong on keeping the draft in its original time-slot despite the live event being canceled and many teams protesting for it to be delayed due to the inability to properly scout and test players with lockdowns in place. All things considered, it seems to have been a success to most, and now sports fans sit frozen again unsure of when major sports will make their return.
One thing the NFL has going for it now is when the season begins. The schedule could go on without an impact since we’re still more than four months away from a regular season game being played – and some measures are already being taken across the country to resume normal everyday life. Sportsbooks have already updated their Super Bowl odds after the draft, and while there typically isn’t a ton of movement in lines from the draft, there are small changes across the board based on draft grades and the hauls teams were able to bring in.
Two NFC South teams were the ones who saw their odds go down after the draft from the top contenders for this year’s Super Bowl. Though the Saints (+1300 to +1200) didn’t make any huge moves, they did address some key needs and decided to trade up with multiple picks to get tight end Adam Trautman. The Buccaneers (+1700 to +1500) did make news on the other hand with some very popular selections in the draft. They immediately got Tom Brady some more protection with tackle Tristan Wirfs 13th overall. Wirfs was mocked as high as fourth overall leading up to the draft. They also added Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the third round and added many draft experts’ favorite underrated receiver with Tyler Johnson in the fifth round.
The biggest jump came from the Jaguars, who still have the highest odds in the league. They jumped from +20000 to +16000 after making 11 picks that mostly graded favorably from draft experts.
There’s not much of a surprise with three contenders whose odds got higher after the draft. The Seahawks (+2000 to +2100) had one of the most criticized first-round picks by selecting linebacker Jordyn Brooks 27th overall. Seattle has quite a few needs and instead went with a run stopping linebacker who struggles in coverage in a league that is moving toward more versatility in that spot. The Packers (+2200 to +2300) stunned everyone by taking quarterback Jordan Love 26th overall to back up Aaron Rodgers for now. In a highly respected class of receivers, the Packers instead drafted a running back in the second round and a tight end not known for his pass catching in the third round. New England (+2200 to +2300) didn’t do anything overly shocking, but it didn’t make any big moves like some thought. The Patriots took a pair of outside linebackers and tight ends in the first three rounds and added a kicker in the fifth round.
The biggest drop was the Broncos (+5500 to +6000). It’s hard to key in on why the line moved so much or the public began to fade Denver, as they had a draft that was mostly graded positively after adding Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.
California Teams – 49ers, Chargers, Rams
The 49ers stayed put at +900 after replacing DeForest Buckner with Javon Kinlaw with the 14th pick and adding a weapon outside with Brandon Aiyuk 25th overall.
Taking a running back with your first pick never sits well with most people these days. The Rams (+2600 to +2800) took Cam Akers in the second round despite having needs all over the roster.
The Chargers (+3400 to +3200) saw their odds get lower after getting their quarterback in Justin Herbert sixth overall. They also added linebacker Kenneth Murray with the 23rd pick.