The 2021 NFL Draft is a little over a month away, but I’ve already started obsessing over mock drafts and trying to guess which team is going to snag who.
In this article I will give my best bets for the top-five overall picks, along with a few additional random bets via the current odds over on Sportsbettingdime.com, in an attempt to make us all a little extra beer money.
If you have strong leans on any of these players, be sure to let us know either on Twitter or in the comments section below!
Pick One: Jacksonville Jaguars
Best Odds to be Selected: Trevor Lawrence – QB, Clemson (-5000)
My Pick: Trevor Lawrence – QB, Clemson
I would love to take a darkhorse player here to grab some better odds, but this is about as close to a sure thing as you’re going to find in NFL Draft history. Lawrence has been widely regarded as the best prospect since Andrew Luck and has been drawing high praise ever since he was a freshman in college. If the Jaguars don’t take Lawrence, I’d expect Jacksonville to be a pile of ash within hours.
Pick Two: New York Jets
Best Odds to be Selected: Zach Wilson – QB, BYU (-305)
My Pick: Justin Fields – QB, Ohio State (+500)
Don’t get me wrong, I love both of these quarterbacks, but I think Fields is being treated a bit unfairly by the football guys out there. He’s very talented and seemingly NFL-ready with the exception of a couple of flaws; and keep in mind that he was the favorite to be selected No. 2 overall up until about a month ago. I think Zach Wilson is good, but Fields is better in the grand scheme of things. If I had to oversimplify the situation, I’d say that Fields is like Woody and Wilson is like Buzz Lightyear; when Buzz came around, he was the shiny new toy that Andy preferred to play with. Wilson burst onto the scene towards the end of 2020, and while definitely an exciting prospect, I think people have become too quick to dismiss Fields. Time will tell, but I think Fields will be the new signal caller for the Jets by the end of April.
I know you may be scratching your head as to why I’d choose a quarterback for the Dolphins. My short answer: I’m not… I’m selecting a quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. My official prediction is that Miami will move back five spots in the draft and receive a haul from Carolina. The Panthers know that if they can’t get Deshaun Watson, they’ll likely need to trade up in order to grab one of the “big four” at QB in this year’s draft. If Wilson is still there, the pick would make sense, but I get the feeling they’d go Lance. Carolina (and the rest of us) seemed to really like what they saw from Lance at his pro day. He’s definitely a risky option, but combine his running ability, accuracy, arm strength and overall football IQ and you’ve got one hell of a prospect on offense.
Pick Four: Atlanta Falcons
Best Odds to be Selected: Zach Wilson – QB, BYU (+110)
My Pick: Zach Wilson – QB, BYU
Many out there tend to think that since the Falcons restructured Matt Ryan’s contract it means that they won’t be drafting a quarterback. I don’t understand the logic there. Ryan is going to be 36 at the start of the season, has shown signs of slowing down and with the Falcons having literally no contingency plan at quarterback, it just makes too much sense. I mentioned before that there is a “big four” at the QB position and I do believe that all four of them will be the top handful of picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pick Five: Cincinnati Bengals
Best Odds to be Selected: Penei Sewell – OL, Oregon (-400)
My Pick: Penei Sewell – OL, Oregon
This one could just as easily be Ja’Marr Chase (+230) but I can’t imagine the Bengals passing up on an elite OL prospect. It’s no secret that the Bengals need to revamp their offensive line so that Joe Burrow doesn’t get hurt again. Investing in weapons for the former No. 1 overall pick is important, but keeping him safe on gameday should be the top priority. If Sewell is on the board for the Bengals, it should be a no-brainer selection for them.
Best Odds for First Running Back Selected: Najee Harris, Alabama (-110)
My Pick: Najee Harris, Alabama
Harris is a big, bruising back that is arguably the most proven running back of this class. My personal favorite until recently was Travis Etienne because of his pass-catching upside, but I’m starting to realize the reality that he’s likely going to be selected after Harris, as Harris ain’t too shabby out of the backfield himself.
Best Odds for First Wide Receiver Selected: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU (-167)
My Pick: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
This one feels almost as safe as Trevor Lawrence going No. 1 overall. Chase is being regarded as a generational talent at the position, and while that praise will be tough to match, I think he’ll get the job done. DeVonta Smith would be a popular pick as the first receiver off of the board if he weren’t so dang skinny. Chase seems to be the safer pick of the two and has just about the same amount of sky-high upside.
Best Odds for First Safety Selected: Trevor Moehrig, TCU (-213)
My Pick: Trevor Moehrig, TCU
This class ain’t too deep at the safety position, but I think Moehrig has this one on lock. He’ll likely be an early second-round pick and is the only safety in the entire draft, in my opinion, that has even a slight chance at sneaking in as a day-one selection.
Best Odds for First Cornerback Selected: Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech (-120)
My Pick: Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (+100)
I’ll be honest, this one is a complete coin toss for me. Both of these corners are fantastic players and should be surefire top-12 picks in the draft. The two main reasons why I’m leaning Surtain II are that 1) he’s faced stiffer competition throughout his collegiate career and 2) slightly better odds on a coin toss = slightly more money for beer.
Best Odds for First Lineman Selected: Penei Sewell, Oregon (-1000)
My Pick: Penei Sewell, Oregon
This one should be obvious with the writeup for the Bengals selecting him at pick No. 5 overall. Dude is a stud – he’s got (-1000) odds for a reason.
Honorable Mention Bets:
Best Odds for Second Quarterback Selected: Zach Wilson, BYU (-400)
My Pick: Justin Fields, Ohio State (+250)
Best Odds for Third Quarterback Selected: Justin Fields, Ohio State (+125)
My Pick: Trey Lance, North Dakota (+175)
Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as we breakdown Ja’Marr Chase, Rondale Moore, Kadarius Toney, Dyami Brown and D’Wayne Eskridge with Matt Hicks of NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated!