It’s not unheard of for rookie players to make a big splash in their first NFL season and help their teams fortunes.
There were a couple cases of that last year, including the New York Jets nailing their draft by selecting Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall.
There’s sure to be another team that takes a drastic step forward because of their rookie class, and I have a few selections circled that could shake up the current odds for Super Bowl LVIII.
I’ll explain those picks and my reasoning for highlighting them later, but first you’re going to want to learn about the highest-valued promotion in sports betting at Caesars Sportsbook.
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To get the maximum value out of this bet, you might want to consider a futures bet on an NFL team. Odds are likely to only get shorter for the contending teams as the offseason progresses and teams address areas of concern.
Here are three teams who could really boost their value via the NFL Draft:
New York Jets Draft Anthony Richardson
Look, everyone knows that Zach Wilson is NOT the answer at quarterback for the Jets. But no one knows exactly who his successor should be.
Even without a bonafide QB1, the Jets are still listed at +3000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII. Do you think those odds will stay so long if they add a competent quarterback? Me neither.
If the Jets aren’t able to acquire Aaron Rodgers via trade and can’t sign Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo for the right price, the draft might be their best bet, and Richardson might be the only first-round talent left at No. 13 overall.
Richardson’s arm didn’t look the part last season at Florida as he completed 53.8% of his passes for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. But he is undoubtedly a gifted runner.
Richardson averaged 6.3 yards per carry as he racked up 654 yards and nine touchdowns against some of the best defenses in college football.
Drafting a quarterback hasn’t worked out for the Jets yet, but it has to eventually, right?
Detroit Lions Draft Devon Witherspoon AND Lukas Van Ness
The Lions are in a very unique spot as a contending team with two first-round draft picks at No. 6 and No. 18 overall thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade with the LA Rams.
A year after missing the playoffs on a tiebreaker, Detroit could shore up its defensive struggles in the first round by grabbing a cornerback and a defensive lineman. Listed at +3000 odds to lift the Lombardi Trophy, it’s clear the oddsmakers think the Lions’ second-half performance was legit.
Witherspoon (No. 6) and Van Ness (No. 18) would be fantastic options to help Detroit take the next step.
Witherspoon, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback, recorded three interceptions and 14 pass breakups last year for Illinois. He’s widely considered to be one of the top cornerbacks available in this year’s draft.
Van Ness is a physical presence at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds and is used to battling against big offensive linemen in the Big Ten, recording 13.5 sacks over the past two seasons combined. He not only would help Detroit’s pass-rushing woes opposite Aidan Hutchinson, but he would also add flexibility and depth to the D-Line as he can play both the interior and the edge.
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Drew Sanders
You have to be living under a rock if you didn’t hear how the Chargers were eliminated from the playoffs this season.
Scoring points hasn’t been an issue for this team since they added Justin Herbert to an already dangerous offense, but stopping other teams has been an issue.
Listed at +2200 odds to win the Super Bowl, it’s clear that oddsmakers expect LA to contend for the playoffs again. But navigating the postseason won’t be easy unless the defense is addressed.
The Chargers were fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per play last season (5.9 yards allowed per play) and Sanders would go a long way toward getting this number trending in the right direction.
If LA doesn’t re-sign Kyle Van Noy – or even if it does – adding Sanders, or a player like him, with the No. 21 overall pick is essential.
A player who transferred from Alabama to Arkansas for his junior season, the 6-foot-5, 233-pound Sanders was a unanimous All-American this past season. He recorded 103 tackles, 13.5 for loss, with 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, six pass breakups and an interception this past season.
Sanders would represent an immediate upgrade for the middle of the Chargers defense.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.