NFL Teams That Changed Most Through Draft
Our job here today is to look at the NFL teams that saw the most positive change for bettors through the NFL Draft. But before we do that, we have to put things into perspective. The only team that saw their Super Bowl odds change in the days immediately following the draft was Kansas City, and that was much more to do with the Tyreek Hill debacle than anything else. So, it is really easy for bettors to attach too much significance to the draft and what it actually means. But that doesn't mean that it isn't fun to think about and that it won't have an impact on what teams look like next year.
So, here are the four teams that look the most improved thanks to a well-handled draft:
New England Patriots: The rich just keep getting richer. No team has been better over the years at spinning assets into more assets, and this year they wound up with 10 picks - nine in the first five rounds. And they did very well with those picks. N'Keal Harry, the first-round pick, isn't a blazing speedster at receiver, but his hands are very solid, and he will become a favorite target of Brady. They got massive value in corner Joejuan Williams in the second round and rush end Chase Winovich in the third. Running back Damien Harris and tackle Yodny Cajuste were nice third-round value, too, and they had more nice picks down the board. No team has been less sentimental towards their players through the years, and they did a good job of improving the depth of the team and reloading without overreaching or trying to do too much. It was the best draft anyone had, and that's not something you really should be saying about the reigning Super Bowl champ.
Washington Redskins: Maybe this draft looked so good for the Redskins because we have grown so used to incompetence from them over the years. But there was a whole lot to like here. It would have been easy for them to panic and move up to get the quarterback they obviously needed. But instead they sat back and let Dwayne Haskins - the best choice beyond Kyler Murray in my eyes - fall into their laps at 15th. Then they used some of the capital they didn't have to spend to get a quarterback to trade up and grab defensive end Montez Sweat at 26th - a very nice value there. Bryce Love, coming off an ACL injury, is a worthy gamble in the fourth. Then they added nice depth on the offensive line and on defense. The first-round choices are the highlight picks, but the interest goes deeper than that. If Haskins turns into a player, then this will be a huge draft - and he should get a chance to show what he can do as soon as this year.
Arizona Cardinals: They ideally would have gotten more for Josh Rosen, but I don't even care at this point. Kyler Murray is a special player, and I love the moxie and total commitment it took to make the decision to take him. It tells everyone around the team that Kliff Kingsbury is in charge and that the team is all in for him. That pick alone would make this draft a success. But the team did well beyond that. Byron Murphy, their own second-round pick, is a guy who will start at corner - perhaps as soon as this year. Andy Isabella, who they selected with the pick they got for Rosen, is a receiver from a small school with major upside. He fits the system like a glove. Safety Deionte Thompson from Alabama was nice value in the fifth round. And the team did a nice job adding a lot of guys who can fight to fill the many holes the squad had. It was a good draft for a team with so many needs.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The team had only seven picks, but with some luck and wise moves they maximized what they had. Having Josh Allen fall to them at seventh was a miracle and was only possible because the Giants are almost incomprehensibly stupid. In the second round, they got tackle Jawaan Taylor, who many people had penciled into the first round. Tight end Josh Oliver was a nice third-round value. And while linebacker Quincy Williams from Murray State seemed like a stretch at the end of the third round, I don't mind when a team is obviously high on a guy from a smaller program - they have done their homework and obviously see upside. The team has made many important changes already this offseason, and this draft just complements the work they have done.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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