I'm rather glad there's just one NBA playoff game on Thursday night and that it's one that I don't much care about from a non-betting perspective (Hawks at Celtics Game 6). That's because while I love the NBA playoffs, I'm definitely an NFL Draft nerd and will be watching Thursday's first round in its entirety. And probably much of the weekend coverage.
It's considered a draft with no lock franchise players like an Andrew Luck or even Jameis Winston. Yet the first two picks already have been dealt by Tennessee and Cleveland to the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, for a huge haul of picks. Apparently the Rams and Eagles didn't like the quarterback Class of 2017 (headlined by Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Miami's Brad Kaaya right now presuming both stay healthy and declare), so they made blockbuster moves to get their guys now. I get it for the Rams, who need some buzz with their move to Los Angeles and were prepared to enter the season with journeyman Case Keenum as their starter. As an aside, that will make this summer's "Hard Knocks" show featuring the Rams that much more interesting. L.A. is expected to take Cal's Jared Goff.
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A bit puzzling that the Eagles gave up so much to move up from No. 8 considering they just signed Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel to big deals this offseason. Bradford already is ticked off and wants to be traded. What a crybaby. The guy is guaranteed at least $22 million. Who cares if you are just a one-year bridge quarterback? Philly is expected to take North Dakota State's Carson Wentz and let him sit for all of 2016 before taking over next year. The thinking with doing this by new Eagles GM Howie Roseman is that his team can still contend in the NFC East with Bradford this season yet still get its franchise QB of the future. Interesting decision. It's possible Bradford could be dealt at the draft, but the Eagles would essentially have to eat $11 million. The only likely landing spot for him would be Denver, but the Broncos like Colin Kaepernick better. He also could be traded there on draft night.
Speaking of the 49ers, let's get to BetOnline's first draft prop.
*-"Over/under" 2.5 first-round quarterbacks: The over is a -1500 favorite and under at +800. And I believe it's all but a lock at least three go. That third being Memphis' Paxton Lynch. The 49ers probably wouldn't take him at No. 7 overall but could if they move back in a deal. The Browns likely won't draft him at No. 8, but they also could move down and get more picks, then take Lynch. The New York Jets could grab Lynch at No. 20 as they are still at a stand-still in contract negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick and don't want Bradford. The Kansas City Chiefs (No. 28) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 29) could take Lynch as their QB of the future. And the Broncos are No. 31 are almost sure to take a QB if they don't trade for one. It's also quite possible that Michigan State's Connor Cook goes late in the first round. So over here is a cinch.
*-O/U 1.5 first-round running backs; will Derrick Henry go in Round 1: The under is -500 for this prop with the over at +350. That Henry gets into the first round is +650 and no -1200. I believe these two props are also nearly 100 percent sure things. Hence the prices. There's no way that Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, who has been called the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, gets past Chicago at No. 11. He could go No. 4 to Dallas, No. 6 to Baltimore, No. 8 to Cleveland or No. 10 to the New York Giants. The Miami Dolphins at No. 13 are known to covet him and could trade up with Cleveland to get Elliott. Of course, Henry won the Heisman Trophy last season, but he had a ton of wear-and-tear with 395 carries and 11 receptions. That worries scouts. So does the fact that Henry isn't much of a receiver. Plus there's still an Alabama running back stigma after Trent Richardson was such a bust. Henry often has been compared to former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who was a pretty good player for a while. But Henry won't go in Round 1. Bovada lists his O/U at 36.5. Go over (-150).
*-O/U 3.5 first-round receivers; which receiver goes first: The under is -150 on the total first-rounders and over +120. This receiving class isn't near as good as the historic 2014 one (maybe the best ever in depth, led by Odell Beckham Jr.) or the pretty good 2015 one (led by Amari Cooper but with first-round guys like Kevin White and Breshad Perriman missing all of their rookie seasons). But receivers still are generally valued higher than running backs in the pass-happy NFL. Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell is the +180 favorite to be the first gone. He's big and can catch in traffic but not very fast. So he'll be in traffic a lot. Then again, people used to say the same things about Michael Irvin. TCU's Josh Doctson is +275, followed by Baylor's Corey Coleman (+300) and Notre Dame's Will Fuller (-325). I believe all four will go. Teams with receiver needs are Cleveland, San Francisco (if both trade down), Tennessee, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota, Cincinnati. Fuller is the fastest of the bunch but had a ton of drops. Doctson and Coleman played in ultra-fast offensive systems that inflated their stats some. I think Doctson's the first off the board.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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