What is the NFL Draft?
The 2020 NFL season is underway and so is the 2020 College Football season.
After those campaigns conclude with the postseason and championship games, NFL and College Football bettors will turn their attention to the 2021 NFL Draft.
The 2021 event takes place in Cleveland, Ohio and will kick off on Thursday, Apr. 29 and run through Saturday, May 1. The NFL Draft has seven rounds and all 32 clubs will participate in the event, drafting players from college football schools.
Odds To Be The 1st Overall Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a heavy favorite (-650) to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lawrence has been the favorite to go No. 1 in his draft class since he led Clemson to a national championship over Alabama at the conclusion of his freshman season.
He has led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in each of his two years at Clemson, and they are considered likely to make it to the CFP for the sixth straight season despite losing to Notre Dame.
Top 3 Contenders
A quarterback has been taken with the No. 1 overall pick in five of the last six drafts. Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns was the lone exception within that time span.
The No. 1 overall pick has been a quarterback or a lineman in each of the last 24 drafts, making it highly unlikely that a running back, receiver, linebacker, or defensive back will be the first player whose name we hear on April 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.
2021 Number 1 Overall Pick Odds
Odds Subject to Change - Updated Jan. 7, 2020
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the odds-on favorite to be the top pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. (AP)
Who will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft?Quarterback Joe Burrow went first to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2020 Draft as he led LSU past Clemson for the National Championship. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has taken the Tigers to a pair of National Championship appearances in 2018 and 2019, including knocking off Alabama in 2018 for the title. Lawrence is expected to not only be the Heisman Trophy favorite in 2020, but also walk across the stage as the top selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. The 20-year old signal-caller has thrown for 66 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions in his first two seasons, while leading Clemson to an impressive 25-1 record as a starter.
2021 NFL Draft Contenders
Clemson QB - Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence might be the most polished quarterback we’ve seen coming out of college since Andrew Luck. He has been elite since he first stepped onto the field at Clemson. His accuracy and ability to hit deep throws has increased with each season, and he has currently completed over 70 percent of his passes for 9.6 YPA with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions thus far in 2020.
Every mock draft has Lawrence being the first name off the board. He has been considered a phenom since he was in high school, and New York Jets fans have already shown up at college stadiums to cheer him on.
There are a few teams that are currently languishing near the bottom of the NFL standings that don’t need a quarterback. That could prevent some quarterbacks from going No. 1 overall, but Lawrence is so coveted that suitors would be immediately lining up. Injury is the only reason that Lawrence wouldn’t be the No. 1 overall pick next year.
Ohio State QB - Justin Fields
Kirby Smart is certainly regretting his decision to start Jake Fromm over Justin Fields during the 2018 season. Fields decided to transfer away from his native Georgia to Ohio State after being passed over, and he has been incredible with the Buckeyes.
In his first season in Columbus, Fields completed 67.2 percent of his passes for over 3,200 yards with 41 touchdowns and three interceptions. He proved that he was a dynamic runner in Ryan Day’s system, averaging 6.5 YPC when you take out sack yardage. It’s rare to see him make the wrong decision in RPOs, and there are many that are excited to see what he does after Lamar Jackson was named 2019 NFL MVP.
There are some things working against Fields though. Not only is he in the same class as a generational talent, but there are doubts surrounding Ohio State quarterbacks after Dwayne Haskins has already been benched by Washington.
Oregon OT - Penei Sewell
Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell opted out of the 2020 college football season and has already declared his intention to enter the 2021 NFL Draft. That decision isn’t expected to hinder his draft stock though, as almost every mock draft has Sewell listed as the best offensive lineman available in this year’s class.
Sewell became the first true sophomore ever to win the Outland Trophy last year. He has the size and athleticism teams desire at left tackle, and he was the second-best draft prospect according to ESPN entering the 2020 college football season.
We’ve seen two offensive tackles taken with the No. 1 pick in the last 13 drafts. Jake Long beat out Chris Long and Matt Ryan to be the first choice in the 2008 NFL Draft, and Eric Fisher was the top selection when there was no clear-cut elite quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft.
There is a possibility that Sewell is the first player taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is likely atop the draft board of any team not in need of a quarterback, so a team desperately in need of a standout offensive tackle like the Cincinnati Bengals might be hard-pressed to deal the pick if they covet Sewell.
Players to Watch - 2021 NFL Draft
Taking Lawrence to be the first selection in the 2021 NFL Draft doesn't provide much return and while he's expected to go No. 1, it all depends on what team is selecting first.
There are other players to keep an eye on and we believe they could be used in this betting market and others as the seasons continue for both the NFL and College Football.
BYU QB - Zach Wilson
It’s been a banner year for BYU’s Zach Wilson.
Wilson turned a lot of heads as a freshman in 2018. However, he did not look like a future first-round pick as a sophomore, completing less of his passes despite having better protection.
He has surged into the Heisman Trophy conversation by completing 75 percent of his passes for 11.4 YPA with 21 touchdowns and two interceptions. His play under center has led the Cougars to an unbeaten start, and they have scored at least 41 points in seven of their first eight games.
Wilson is surely a longshot to be the No. 1 overall pick, but we saw a similar situation take place last year. A red-hot player (Joe Burrow) ended up supplanting the established favorite (Tua Tagovailoa) as the top pick in the NFL Draft, and Wilson has a chance to do the same although he is playing at a program with a lesser profile against worse competition.
Alabama WR - Devonta Smith
We've seen what Devonta Smith is capable of as the clear No. 1 choice in Alabama’s offense. In one standout game against Mississippi State, he caught 11 passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns.
Smith will be QB Mac Jones’ top option the rest of the year with Jaylen Waddle out for the season with an ankle injury.
Given the track record of Alabama receivers in the NFL, Smith has a slim chance of being the first receiver to be a No. 1 overall choice since Keyshawn Johnson in 1996.
However, make a note that former Tide WRs Julio Jones and Amari Cooper are potential Hall of Famers with a combined 12 Pro Bowl selections between them, and Calvin Ridley has shined alongside Jones in Atlanta.
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NFL Draft Order Process
NFL Draft History No. 1 Picks
Looking at the recent NFL Draft History, quarterbacks have been selected first in five of the last six drafts and nine of the last 12 going back to 2009.
NFL No. 1 Draft History
Odds Subject to Change