With America hungry for new sports content, this week’s NFL Draft couldn’t come at a better time.
You can expect Thursday’s first round to be a TV ratings monster with big numbers continuing throughout the draft, which continues Friday with rounds two and three, and concludes Saturday with the final four rounds.
At No. 3, the Detroit Lions could be the first team to create drama at the top of the draft as the first two picks seem nearly set in stone.
The rumor mill will continue through the 8 p.m. EST start of the draft on Thursday.
The latest rumor from Monday morning involved the San Francisco 49ers, who Adam Schefter of ESPN reports is looking to add picks and are fielding calls about selections Nos. 13 and 31.
49ers fielding calls on both their first-round picks, No. 13 and No. 31 overall, and are open to dealing either or both picks, per league sources. After 31, 49ers not scheduled to pick again until No. 156 in fifth round. No second-, third- and fourth-round picks. Want more picks.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 20, 2020
More certainty about Joe Burrow, Chase Young
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow going first to the Cincinnati Bengals and Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young going second to the Washington Redskins seem to be near-locks.
FanDuel Sportsbook now has Burrow going first overall at -100,000 after being listed at -7,000 last week. Young is now -3,000 to go second after going for -1,200 last week.
That leaves Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah as the favorite to go third at +105, up from +130 last week.
Most interesting though is the jump by Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who at +340 has jumped Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (+360) as the second-highest odds at No. 3. DraftKings Sportsbook lists the quarterbacks as tied at +500 odds to go third, trailing Okudah at +125.
There’s uncertainty about Tagovailoa’s health after his college season ended early because of a hip injury that required surgery.
Now the question is whether a team likes Herbert or Tagovailoa enough to offer the Lions enough to trade down.
Longer shots to go at No. 3 include Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown (+600), Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons (+1,000), Young (+1,900), Alabama offensive lineman Jedrick Wills Jr. (+5,000), Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (+5,000) and Burrow (+10,000).
Veteran quarterbacks still out there for the taking
If teams miss out on (or aren’t into) Tagovailoa or Herbert, there are some other veteran signal callers that could hold teams over for now.
The most accomplished among them is Cam Newton, the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2015. The Carolina Panthers released Newton last month after he played in two games last season because of injuries.
FanDuel Sportsbook has posted odds about where Newton will play next season with the Los Angeles Chargers the favorites at +200, followed by the Miami Dolphins (+300), Jacksonville Jaguars (+350), Denver Broncos (+550), New England Patriots (+550), Washington Redskins (+1,000), Las Vegas Raiders (+1,300) and Pittsburgh Steelers (+1,500).
Last week, running back Leonard Fournette told ESPN’s First Take that he’d like to see the Jaguars go after Newton.
Other quarterbacks that could be out there for the taking are Dak Prescott, who is waiting on a new contract from the Dallas Cowboys; Andy Dalton, whose days as the Cincinnati Bengals starter are numbered with the expected drafting of Burrow; and Jameis Winston, a free agent after he became the NFL’s first player to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions last season with Tampa Bay.
Lions pre-draft Super Bowl odds among NFL’s worst
The Lions offseason has not picked up any momentum for the team heading into the 2020 season.
It’s been a relatively quiet spring for Detroit, trading Darius Slay to Philadelphia and cutting Damon Harrison from the defense while adding mostly non-descript free agents.
Oddsmakers don’t have much confidence in a surge from the Lions, who are assigned +6600 odds to win the Super Bowl by FanDuel, 25th-best odds in the 32-team league after going 3-12-1 last season.
As for individuals, quarterback Matthew Stafford has +4,400 odds to win his first MVP after a strong first half of last season. He shares those odds with Philip Rivers of Indianapolis, Derrick Henry of Tennessee, Matt Ryan of Atlanta and Kirk Cousins of Minnesota.
Stafford and Co. are listed as the 14th-highest MVP odds in the NFL – ahead of dynamic Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey (+5,000).
Feeling a long shot bet? How about Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay and running back Kerryon Johnson, both +20,000 bets for MVP.