With no major sports in play right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online sportsbooks have gotten their betting lines up early for the 2020 NFL Draft. This year’s offerings look to be vastly abundant as well! One area where they’ve offered numerous wagering options is along the offensive line. But for the purpose of this piece, we’ll be discussing which hog will be taken off the draft board first. With a number of supreme talents available, weeding the ultimate winner out is much easier said than done. Even so, we’ll give it the ‘ol college try for when players start coming off the board on Thursday, April 23 in the online draft.
Tristan Wirfs -105
Mekhi Becton +155
Jedrick Wills +400
Andrew Thomas +1500
Tristan Wirfs OT/G Iowa Hawkeyes
The big man out of Iowa is the current odds on favorite to be the first offensive linemen selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. With the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals possessing two of the worst offensive lines in the league a season ago, it’s highly likely each franchise concentrates on shoring up its offensive line so Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray are able to extend their respective careers as long as possible. With that, the G-Men at No. 4 or Cards at No. 8 are likely landing spots for one of the premiere hog offerings. Wirfs showed up bigtime at the combine running a lightning-fast 40 while also excelling in the drills while boasting stellar testing numbers. That said, many NFL scouts believe he’d make for a better guard than strong side tackle in the NFL; keep that in mind when wagering on which linemen hears his name first come Thursday night.
Mekhi Becton OT Louisville Cardinals
So many teams in need of help along the offensive line are drafting towards the beginning of the first round of the draft. Some of the main reasons why are because the unit couldn’t keep opposing defenses from sacking its quarterback, give him enough time to throw to open receivers downfield or open holes for the ground attack. That’s something The Ville’s Mekhi Becton can do! On top of that, he proved to be one of the most athletic and physically gifted linemen of a year ago. A number of mock drafts have him being selected after Wills and Wirfs, but it wouldn’t shock me in the least to see this 6’7” behemoth get taken much earlier as rare a prospect he truly is. The betting odds suggest as such as well! It’s possible other teams even trade up to acquire his services, so you can’t go wrong investing on the short plus-money return.
Jedrick Wills OT Alabama Crimson Tide
This dude is nothing if not a road grader! How could he not be checking in at 3+ spins and 6’4” tall? He could be truly special after running a 5.05 40 carrying all that weight! He dominated field drills at the combine, and proved to be the complete package throughout his three-year stay in Tuscaloosa keeping both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts upright for a bulk of their respective careers. He’d fit right in at the NFL level with scouts believing he can play either side of the line and protect the QB’s blindside after doing so for lefty Tua the last few seasons. With DeAndre Hopkins just being traded to the Cardinals who already have a ton of talent in the backfield with Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds, Arizona would be foolish not to snag him or trade up should he stick around at No. 8.
Andrew Thomas OT Georgia Bulldogs
The Dawgs have sported one of the best offensive lines in the country since Kirby Smart took over the program. A 3-year starter, Thomas was the best of the bunch and is being touted as such entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Quick to the second level after firing out of his stance, Thomas can run block with the best of them. He also proved to be a very adept pass protector keeping Jacob Fromm upright throughout his stay in Athens. Of all the upper echelon offensive linemen in this draft, Thomas looks to be the most NFL ready due to excellent footwork that allows him to cut the angle of most speed rushers. The most consistent of the bunch, making a beer money investment at 15-1 might not be a bad idea regardless of most mock drafts having him going later in the first round.
The field is offering up a 25-1 return simply due to the fact that you’d only be working with longshots and would need a miracle to occur to cash the ticket. The best shot of seeing anyone but the four mentioned players go off the board first would be USC’s Austin Jackson. He’s an athlete with quick feet and solid agility, but his lack of technique leads one to belief more coaching at the NFL level is needed to turn this prospect into a potential franchise left tackle. With that, I don’t recommend backing the field as one of the studs up above will go off the board way before any of the unlisted entrants do.
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