Who will be this year’s top pick in the NFL Draft?
The clock is ticking.
Before we know it, the Jaguars (barring some sort of blockbuster trade) will be on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft…for the second consecutive year. Thanks to a below-average roster and the disaster that was Urban Meyer’s brief head coaching stint, it isn’t a phenomenal era in Northern Florida.
Jacksonville will have a few options with its top pick. Various areas throughout the roster require assistance — that’s how bad the team is.
Which player will the Jags select to commence this annual event?
Let’s take a look at the current odds for the No. 1 pick, courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson: +160
Alabama OT Evan Neal: +200
Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux: +400
NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu: +800
Mississippi State OT Charles Cross: +4000
Liberty QB Malik Willis: +4000
Pitt QB Kenny Pickett: +5000
Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton: +6000
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral: +8000
LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr.: +8000
Edge rushers, tackles sit atop the board
There are two main routes the Jaguars could go with their top selection: either bulk up the pass rush or improve the offensive line to protect hopeful star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Aidan Hutchinson out of Michigan figures to be the top edge rusher in this draft class after a unanimous All-American season that included him winning the Nagurski-Woodson Award for the Big Ten’s top defensive player. Obviously, there is still some time before the draft rolls around on April 28. There’s still the chance Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux surpasses Hutchinson as the class’ top pass rusher, although it may not be an overwhelmingly large chance.
As for the offensive line route, Alabama tackle Evan Neal carries the largest odds to be the top pick at +200 while NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu is at +800. These odds are subject to change though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ekwonu flew up the boards.
Remember, the NFL Scouting Combine and pro days have yet to occur — those events could certainly alter players’ draft stocks.
Quarterbacks far down the list
Unless Trevor Lawrence quits playing football, sustains a career-threatening injury in the offseason, or demands a trade, he will be the Jaguars’ starting quarterback in 2022.
So taking a quarterback at No. 1 overall is off the table, which is why the draft class’ top three signal-callers are far down this specific odds board.
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis is +4000, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett is +5000, and Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral is +8000.
The first team in this draft that I could see taking a quarterback is Detroit at No. 2 overall, but I’m not sure if any of the aforementioned individuals are worth the second pick (this quarterback class is not strong whatsoever). The Lions’ best bet may be to trade back to the late portion of the top 10 and look to acquire a quarterback then, if they are in fact intending to draft a new future face of the franchise.
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