2018 NFL Draft Props: Shaquem Griffin, Baker Mayfield and More
Published on March 09, 2018
With the 2018 NFL Combine finally in the books, NFL fans and sports bettors alike can finally start to turn their attention to the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.
That has the rumor mill heating up, but it also has sports betting sites pushing out more and more NFL Draft prop bets.
There is a lot of money to be had and a litany of betting options to consider, with sites already asking fans who will be taken #1 overall, among other draft specials.
That list is only going to grow over the next month or so and sites like Bovada have already updated their NFL Draft betting page. Here’s a look at their latest 2018 NFL Draft props and how bettors may want to approach them:
Few players are more polarizing than Mayfield, who has been compared to Johnny Manziel and currently has no real clue where he’ll be drafted.
Mayfield showed well during the Senior Bowl and at the combine, though, and obviously was a stud at Oklahoma. While he has less than ideal size for the next level and he has some character concerns, he’s otherwise a tantalizing prospect.
Needless to say, he’s in the conversation to be chosen within the first 10 picks and some even think he could vie for the #1 pick. Does that make him a lock for the top five picks, though?
Bovada has the cut off right around the sixth pick, which is interesting considering the Browns, Giants and Broncos all pick inside the top-five and could be interested in a young passer.
The main problem here is there are a lot of talented players vying for those first five picks, while many of them are quarterbacks.
Mayfield’s draft stock has improved since his college career ended, but I still think there’s too much going on up top to ensure he’s taken inside the top-six.
There is still some value with riding that logic, so I’ll take the Over, even though I still think Mayfield hears his name called within the first 10-15 picks.
Pick: Over 5.5 (-165)
Perhaps even more polarizing than Mayfield is Jackson. He’s about as dynamic as anyone in this year’s draft class, but he has serious accuracy issues that have some thinking he’d be a better fit at wide receiver.
Here’s to looking at you, Bill Polian.
I am not with the Polian party. Jackson is a special talent for the quarterback position and gives the NFL a different version of Michael Vick. Suffice to say, .
His accuracy needs to be better, but he can extend plays, break defenses down with his legs and take the top off the defense.
The issue, of course, is NFL teams can’t just buy him as an explosive runner who can take shot down the field. They have to believe he can improve inside the pocket and morph into a reliable and consistent franchise passer.
Due to the mixed reviews so far, Bovada and other NFL Draft betting sites put Jackson’s draft range right at the end of the first round.
I appreciate the value with the Over here and I do understand that while tantalizing, Jackson is not a finished product.
He has too much talent, though. There is simply too much raw talent and upside here for a quarterback-needy league to let this guy slide out of the first round.
At least half of the NFL could consider snatching him up as a potential franchise star, whether that be for this year or for down the road. Paxton Lynch was a first-round pick a few years ago and an equally raw quarterback with accuracy issues in Josh Allen is somehow regarded as a far superior prospect.
Allen has better size and a cannon for an arm, but they’re actually similar prospects in terms of risk and reward. Because of the sheer talent and need for high-level quarterback play, I feel Lamar Jackson is a lock to be taken inside the first round.
Pick: Under 32.5 (-175)
The title holder of this blog, Shaquem Griffin is a very interesting pro prospect, simply because he has every single trait you want in a pass rusher for the next level.
The problem is he only has one hand.
Griffin hasn’t allowed that to hold him back in the past, of course, as he’s displayed elite speed, strength and physicality, both in college and throughout the Senior Bowl and Combine processes.
Has he done enough to calm concerns regarding his effectiveness in the pros, though?
This current projection at Bovada puts Griffin in the fourth round, which honestly might be a bit high for a guy with a clear limitation.
Physically, Griffin projects as a terror on the outside at the next level. Unfortunately, not having a second hand can hurt him when shedding blocks and trying to make difficult tackles. It also could be an issue when trying to convert interceptions or fumble recoveries.
It’s impossible to know just how big of an issue this is, but no NFL team is going to risk a high pick on a guy if they’re not completely certain he’s worth it. Griffin is, but the risk needs to be minimized by a later pick.
This is a pretty viable Total to work with, but I’d still play it safe here and bet the Over.
Pick: Over 110.5 (+110)
This isn’t an overly unique NFL Draft special, but it does put the top quarterbacks against each other to see who will be drafted first.
Not just a wager on the first pick in the draft, this has bettors trying to figure out who NFL teams think is the best arm available this year.
From a sheer talent perspective, the answer is probably Josh Allen. However, he’s had accuracy issues and is much more raw than these other options.
Sam Darnold doesn’t always wow you, but he’s easily the most pro-ready option of this group.
Josh Rosen is along those lines as well, but he’s another guy with a lot of question marks and played with a losing program.
Mayfield may be the most interesting passing prospect of all (for this bet, at least), as he is a polarizing personality, but put up big numbers against tough competition at Oklahoma. Here’s how the draft’s top passers stack up for this prop bet:
Months ago I thought Darnold was a lock to be the first quarterback taken off the board and right behind him was Rosen. Things have changed quite a bit since the college football ended.
I still think Darnold is the most complete passer right now, but I no longer view him as the best overall passer in this draft class. That title belongs to Mayfield, while Allen actually offers the best combination of arm strength, size and athleticism.
Ultimately, this bet hinges on what the Browns are going to do. If they’re taking a passer, I think it’s Allen. He’s a risk due to accuracy questions, but he’s also immensely talented and has untapped upside.
The problem is if they opt to take someone else at the top spot, or worse, end up trading down. Either situation could complicate this wager considerably.
Still, Allen probably has more upside than anyone here, so due to the value and logic involved, he’d be my pick of this group.
Pick: Josh Allen (+250)
As mentioned in the intro, this prop bet is one that’s actually been around for a while. Chances are you’ve stumbled upon it and put some money down already.
However, the odds have changed in recent weeks. One big reason why is the Cleveland Browns are unpredictable.
To this point, some believe they could still trade down from the first overall pick, while the Browns reportedly aren’t “enamored” with any of the top passing prospects.
It’s tough to know what to believe, but considering the Browns didn’t deem Carson Wentz as a guy worth investing it, it’s fair to say they might have flawed reasoning.
Then again, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley may be good enough to take ahead of anyone else in this draft. Here are the latest #1 picks odds, per Bovada:
Obviously, Barkley is in play here. Cleveland doesn’t have a running back close to his talent level, while numerous teams (Cowboys, Jaguars and Rams, to name a few) have experienced quick turnarounds thanks in large part to investing in a stud running back via the draft.
If the Browns buy into that logic, they may have to admit two things; Barkley won’t be around if they don’t take him at the top spot and they’d still be able to get a solid quarterback prospect with their second first round pick anyways.
Because of all of that, Barkley is heating up for me here. Still, everyone here has a valid argument and also offers very interesting value.
Of the lot, Josh Allen (+400) still possess the best bang for your buck, just because he’s been vocal about wanting to play for the Browns and he’s probably the best overall arm talent this year.
The “any other” option is also intriguing. Elite draft prospects like Bradley Chubb, Minkah Fitzpatrick and others would provide arguments in this spot and at +1500, the upside is easy to see.
While you’ll want to consider your avenues here, the pick is starting to look like Barkley. The best part? You’re still getting pretty good value at +170.
Pick: Saquon Barkley (+170)
That does it for my updated look at the best NFL Draft prop bets. This is seriously just the tip of the iceberg, as mock drafts and news should start to clear things up considerably in the next month or so.
As the draft picture gets pieced together, NFL Draft betting sites are sure to unleash more props for bettors to consider. When that happens, I’ll be back to look at the draft scene to help you gauge which bets are worth targeting.