The calendar is about to flip over to April which means that in the modern-day NFL, with its year-round schedule, fans will soon be turning their attention to a new NFL topic. In this case, we’re all moving on from free-agency to the upcoming NFL Draft.
The draft is currently scheduled to go on as planned in respect to the dates, April 23-25, however, there are sure to be many logistical changes made between now and then with respect to the obvious challenges created by the COVID-19 situation.
Per usual, the betting shops have already created a plethora of prop bets regarding the NFL Draft with more ways to wager on the draft being released daily. One of those early release prop bets has caught our attention as an opportunity to lock in an advantage.
Which pick will Jordan Love be drafted? Over/Under 13.5
2011 C.B.A. Fundamentally Changed the NFL
Many football fans remember former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, as the last rookie to sign an enormous contract and receive the accompanying signing bonus, before playing a single down in the NFL. Without getting into all the details, the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement put and end to all that.
In a rare moment of agreement, the players and the owners made one thing perfectly clear: they were all tired of giving unproven rookies truckloads of money. It didn’t take long for the lessons learned from players like JaMarcus Russell, Mark Sanchez and Vince Young to be acted upon.
Subsequently, rookie contract structures were dramatically changed in the 2011 C.B.A. Gone were the days of small fortunes being allocated to rookies before ever playing an NFL game. Whether or not they knew it at the time, this change sent the NFL on a drastically different trajectory.
Teams Were Free to Reach for Quarterbacks
The new path that the NFL was heading down in 2011 meant that teams were now free to gamble on players in the draft. Whether you call it “reaching” for a player, making a “calculated risk” or just flat out “rolling the dice,” the new sentiment was that taking a chance on a player in the draft wasn’t much of a real risk, at least from an accounting perspective. The only true risk was missing out on a player that “could have” been selected, but hindsight is always 20/20.
With this sentiment in mind, a trend started to emerge, not just in the draft, but in the overall “recipe” to build a winning NFL franchise. Teams quickly realized that they were faced with a choice, either commit to a proven NFL veteran QB, tie up a sizable chunk of the salary cap and then be forced to “skimp” in other areas of the team when there just wasn’t enough money to go around. Or they could save money by taking a chance on drafting a QB, paying him essentially peanuts by NFL standards for 5 years, hoping they strike gold or at least silver and then using the rest of their salary cap to build an elite team around them.
The most notable example of this is arguably the Seahawks during their “Legion of Boom” years. Granted, Seattle didn’t stretch for Russell Wilson, they basically stumbled into him after the Matt Flynn debacle. Regardless, the concept still rang true.
Sticking to just some of the highlights (lowlights?) of the previous nine NFL Drafts, enjoy this brief stroll down memory lane… 2011 gave us Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder all being taken in the top-12. In 2012, the Dolphins took Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall selection. Remember, Tannehill was playing receiver at Texas A&M until halfway through his red-shirt junior year. The 2014 draft gave us Blake Bortles going to Jacksonville with the third pick. Then in ’16 the Eagles decided to take Carson Wentz with the second overall pick. While there was a much more reasonable argument to be made for him than most guys on this list, drafting a 1-AA quarterback at No. 2 overall is a reach no matter how you slice it.
2017, ’18 and ’19 is when the NFL put this theory into overdrive. ’17 gave us Mitchell Trubisky going to Chicago with the second pick. ’18 was entertaining when Josh Allen and Josh Rosen both came off the board in the top ten. Then came 2019, the gold medal winner of this whole mess, when the New York Football Giants were compelled to trade up to the sixth overall pick in the draft to select Daniel Jones.
This pick was, almost universally, openly mocked on national television by draft experts across the country. Obviously, Jones’ results are yet to be seen, but it still serves as a stark illustration of how far teams are willing to reach for quarterbacks. Also bear in mind, that while it’s difficult to ignore them, results are irrelevant to this bet and the subsequent justification for making the play.
Follow the Heavy on Winners Facebook page for the latest breaking news, picks and content!
5 Reasonable Spots for Jordan Love
If you haven’t guessed it by now, we like Jordan Love to be selected before the 14th pick, effectively making under 13.5 the play here. Since this bet isn’t so much about Love and more about the current state of the NFL, a very brief description of Love’s college career is that he played at smaller school in Utah State, he has a big arm and is naturally athletic. Love had a fairly notable 2018 campaign and then regressed somewhat last season in 2019.
Regardless of your opinion of Love’s abilities or this new-ish theory of how to build a winner in the NFL, it is our contention that somebody will fall in love with Jordan Love and he won’t last past the 13th pick. We’ve made sure to exclude any convoluted scenarios with multiple trades and/or “what if’s” and we’ve still identified five spots ahead of number 14 that Jordan Love could plausibly land.
The Chargers at number six and the Jaguars at number nine could both easily stay right where they are in the draft order and have the option to take Love. We’re assuming that both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa will be taken at some point in the top-5.
This leads to the interesting wrinkle about this years draft which strengthens the case for Love being selected early. This draft is extremely deep with wide receiver talent. The Jets have the 11th pick, the Raiders have the 12th and the 49ers recently got the 13th pick in a trade with Indianapolis. It’s entirely plausible that all three of these teams could be in the market for a receiver. It’s also entirely plausible that six or seven receivers could be taken in the first round.
One of the aforementioned teams could easily trade down into the high teens or 20’s and still get an incredible talent at receiver such as Tee Higgins from Clemson or Justin Jefferson from LSU. The luxury of all the receiving talent in this years draft will make the 11th, 12th, and 13th slots possible targets for a team to go get Jordan Love. The team trading up won’t have to invest as heavily as they would if they were trying to get a top-5 pick and the team trading down could easily view their pick as being, essentially, interchangeable with a slot 10-15 picks later because of the wealth of talent at the position they’re targeting.
Love could be turn out to be anything from a steal to a complete bust, but all the evidence points to Love coming off the board before the 14th pick. With the current trends in the NFL and five reasonable slots for him to be drafted, take under 13.5 and get ready to cash that ticket.
Pick: Jordan Love Draft Slot: Under 13.5
*Odds provided by VegasInsider as of 3/25/2020