The NFL Draft is kind of like Christmas. For months we build up to it and focus on it intensely, and then in a flash it is gone. Luckily, in the world of the NFL there is always something else to focus on, so the void is pretty easy to fill. I'm definitely of the school that believes that you can't judge what the draft really meant or who won or lost for a few years at the earliest. As I look at the first round as it went down, though, there are four guys who, from a betting perspective, are more interesting than the rest in the short term. We won't necessarily know in a hurry how their careers will turn out, but what we see between now and the start of the season from them will have a big impact on the betting attractiveness of their teams:
Jared Goff: Philadelphia has some QB depth - even if it isn't happy - so they don't need Carson Wentz to deliver right away. He can start when he is ready. L.A. Doesn't have that luxury. For starters, neither Case Keenum nor Nick Foles is wildly inspiring, so going with one of them for an extended period would be a concern. More significantly, the L.A. market is fickle and flashy, and they aren't the kind of fans that will happily tolerate picking No. 1 overall and then stapling the guy to the bench for a season or part of it. The pressure is going to be massive and immediate for Goff. It will be crucial for bettors, then, to pay close attention to two things leading up to the season - how he seems to be progressing as he prepares for the season and how the media and therefore the general public seems to be responding to him. I find it tough to be wildly optimistic about him in the short term because of the situation he's in and the adjustments he'll need to make to shine at the NFL level. The value in betting on him, though, will be determined by what the public thinks.
Jack Conklin: This is the offensive tackle that the team says they always liked over Laremy Tunsil, but no one believes them. The pressure will be on Conklin, but he is very good and has the potential to handle it nicely. We'll have to watch how quickly he is able to take over the left side of the line and shift Taylor Lewan right - a move that should work well for both of them. The faster they can do that, the better this line gets in a hurry and the less Marcus Mariota needs to fear for his life. As much as any single player in the first round this year, Conklin is a chess piece that could have significant and immediate impact on his team's results depending upon where he is.
Corey Coleman: When the Browns finally finished trading down in the first round they landed at 15th and sought to address their issues at wide receiver. They have questions at quarterback, but they aren't wrong in thinking that more competent targets could make any quarterback better (If only they didn't need major skill upgrades at virtually every position, but that's another story). When they chose Coleman, though, it was controversial among draftniks. Many weren't sold that the Baylor receiver was the best available, and since the Browns were the first to take a receiver they had their choice. He's fast, but his hands and readiness for an NFL playbook are both concerns. He has an advantage here, though - though he didn't overlap at Baylor with Robert Griffin III he developed in the same offensive system, so the two should be able to find familiarity and chemistry early on. That will be crucial for both players - and could be a real spark to this team. The more it looks like Coleman could start to prove his critics wrong the better it will be for us as bettors.
Joshua Garnett: This is one guy that has the NFL media confused. He wasn't mentioned in a very many first round mock drafts, so when San Francisco took the Stanford guard 28th it was fuel for several talking heads. Those guys, I suspect, will quickly forget what they were saying. It only makes sense that the Niners' scouts were comfortable with a guy who plays in their backyard. More significantly, the guy is very well coached and is very good. Questions at quarterback won't go away in a hurry in San Francisco in all likelihood, but Chip Kelly is going to be better at doing what he does with a good line to work behind. I want to watch closely to see how quickly Garnett finds his spot and establishes himself in it. I expect to see him starting early and staying there for the next decade. The sooner he can do that, the more I like these Niners.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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