2012 NFL Draft Props and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/24/2012
We know exactly two things, and probably only two, about the 2012 NFL draft, which begins on Thursday night.
First off, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will go with the No. 1 overall pick to be Peyton Manning’s successor in Indianapolis. There is no drama there – Colts GM Ryan Grigson already confirmed on Tuesday that Luck was going to be the choice on.
Secondly, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III out of Baylor will go No. 2 overall to the Washington Redskins. They gave up a fortune in picks to move up from No. 6 in a swap with the St. Louis Rams.
But outside of those two certainties the draft should be a wild one and full of surprises, with the real fun beginning at No. 3 with the Minnesota Vikings. Generally the first round of this year’s draft is broken into six elite prospects: Luck, Griffin, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. There is considered to be a significant drop-off after those six, which is unfortunate for the team picking No. 7, Jacksonville.
As for Minnesota, will they even stay at No. 3? They no doubt they would like to move down and add picks and there’s a chance that if someone is in love with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill that team (Miami?) might want to deal with the Vikings to get ahead of No. 4 Cleveland, which could take Tannehill. One prop is, “Which team picks at No. 3.” The Vikings are big -400 favorites with any other team at +250 for NFL odds. I think the Vikes stay put because they will ask too much from the Fins to move up from No. 8.
So here are the options for who goes at No. 3 overall and their odds: Kalil (-200), Claiborne (+115), Blackmon (+450) and Iowa offensive lineman Riley Reiff (+1000). I think it’s a lock to be Kalil. Minnesota has a gaping need at left tackle to protect the backside of young QB Christian Ponder. The Vikes can address their defensive backfield and wide receiving corps later on.
So then who goes No. 4, theoretically to Cleveland? There’s a prop, “Who picks fourth”, with the Browns at -400 and any other team at +250. The options at No. 4 are Richardson (-200), Tannehill (+150), Blackmon (+425) and Claiborne (+600). I think the Browns will give Colt McCoy one more year to prove he’s an NFL starter. And to help him out they will take Richardson. Yes it’s a passing league and Blackmon would help too, but Richardson is considered a better overall prospect.
By the way, the Browns enter the draft with the most picks at 13. There’s a prop on the over/under for the most picks by any team in this draft and that’s 12.5, with the ‘over’ a -175 favorite.
Who picks No. 5? The Bucs hold that slot presently and they are the -350 favorites to keep it. Any other club is +225. Here are the options to go No. 5: Claiborne (-180), Richardson (+200), Kalil (+300) and South Carolina defensive back Stephon Gilmore (+400). I would actually take Richardson here on value because he will be the guy for Tampa Bay if the Browns do decide to take Tannehill or Blackmon.
Speaking of Richardson, he’s head and shoulders above any other back in this draft. And there’s a prop on how many running backs go in the first round, with the over/under at 1.5. The ‘under’ is a big -220 favorite. Jump on the ‘under’ though, even at that price. I see no way that another back makes it into Round 1. More and more teams are going with backs-by-committee and can fill those spots in later rounds. Plus the NFL is become more and more pass-heavy. Unless you are special nowadays at running back, you aren’t going in the first round. Remember that another Alabama back, Mark Ingram, was the only first-round RB a year ago.
The Rams moved down to No. 6 and since they already got their haul from Washington, I don’t see them moving down and out of the Top 6 elite prospects. That the Rams pick No. 6 is at -250, with any other team at +170. St. Louis will stay put and take Blackmon, who is the -140 favorite. Sam Bradford finally has his No. 1 receiver and the Rams get a guy they were considering at No. 2 overall.
The over/under for receivers picked in Round 1 is 3.5, with the over a huge -350 favorite and ‘under’ at +225. I actually like the under there. Blackmon and Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd are locks. Baylor’s Kendall Wright is likely to go in Round 1 but his stock has dropped a bit of late. The only other WR with a shot to get into Round 1 is Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, who is very raw. At best he goes late in the first round so I would take a shot at the +225 on this prop.
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