April means one thing: mock draft season.
Most mock drafts come with the disclaimer that they are not trying to be predictive but rather a reflection of what the writer would do if they were in charge of the NFL franchises. This is very useful, as differences in opinion help us learn more than herd mentality does — it’s the basis for James Surowiecki's best-selling book The Wisdom of the Crowds.
Since people bet on the NFL draft, we can add a market element to the typical approach. The PFF Forecast and the PFF Daily Betting Podcast have spent the better part of a month and a half scouring the markets looking for value. Some of these markets have moved significantly, as evidenced by the wild ride the first overall selection has taken.
The mock draft below is based on our interpretation of the current betting markets, with betting lines courtesy of our friends at DraftKings and other places. This is slightly different from Benjamin Robinson’s great work on Grinding the Mocks, which uses mock draft data and models built from them to make predictions on draft position. Both are wisdom-of-the-crowd approaches, it is just that the crowds differ. You can find last year’s version of this mock here.
This mock is intended to be predictive by its very nature, but we did make a few editorial assumptions here. Additionally (and unlike last year), there are not robust markets for players after Pick 14 or so, so inferences past that point are extremely noisy. All lines are as of April 3 and are from DraftKings unless otherwise specified, although previous prices were also considered. Enjoy!
[Editor’s Note: This mock draft was created before the Eagles-Saints trade, and while most odds are from April 3, those pertaining to the trade were updated on the afternoon of April 4.]
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1. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE AIDAN HUTCHINSON, MICHIGAN
Once a long shot to be the No. 1 overall pick, Hutchinson is now a decently sized favorite at -250, down a bit from -400 a couple of weeks ago.
2. Detroit Lions: EDGE TRAVON WALKER, GEORGIA
This could certainly be quarterback Malik Willis, but Willis doesn’t have a draft-position prop up in the popular books. Neither does Walker, who is currently +330 to be the first pick (second-favorite), +250 to be the second pick (co-favorites with Hutchinson) and +500 to be the third overall pick (third-favorite).
Walker is also a big enough favorite to be the first Georgia player taken that they’ve taken down that prop in many places.
3. Houston Texans: T IKEM EKWONU, NC STATE
Ekwonu is +180 to be the third overall pick, which is the favorite. Additionally, his draft position prop is 3.5, with the under at -125. He’s also -140 and growing to be the first offensive lineman taken.
4. New York Jets: EDGE KAYVON THIBODEAUX, OREGON
Thibodeaux, once the favorite to be the first overall pick, is -115 to go in the top-five with a draft position prop of 5.5 (-115 to both sides).
The Giants have the next pick and the seventh pick, and them going tackle at five makes more sense than seven with the markets. Additionally, Thibodeaux is the favorite at +250 to be the fourth overall pick versus Neal at 10/1.
5. New York Giants: T EVAN NEAL, ALABAMA
Neal is +120 to be the first offensive lineman taken (second-highest odds), and his draft-position prop is 3.5 (-165 to the over). He’s -275 to be a top-five pick.
6. Carolina Panthers: QB MALIK WILLIS, LIBERTY
This is where it’s not so straightforward. Sure, Willis is now -200 to be the first quarterback taken (-170 on FanDuel if you want a better price) after Kenny Pickett opened the process the favorite, but the top team to draft Pickett is Carolina at +150 while the top team to draft Willis is also the Panthers at +250.
However, Willis is -400 to go in the top-10, while Pickett +125 is an underdog to do so.
7. New York Giants (via CHI): CB AHMAD “SAUCE” GARDNER, CINCINNATI
Gardner is -200 to get drafted at Pick No. 8 or earlier, -550 to go in the top-10 and is -400 to be the first cornerback taken.
Cross’ draft position prop is 7.5, with over -135. He’s -500 to go in the top-10.
9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN): EDGE JERMAINE JOHNSON, FLORIDA STATE
Johnson is -165 to go in the top-10, and that price is getting more expensive. His draft position prop is 9.5, with the underpriced at -130.
10. New York Jets (via SEA): WR GARRETT WILSON, OHIO STATE
Wilson is -125 to go in the top-10, with then under 10.5 priced at -120 (so don’t bet the top-10 prop). He’s the co-favorite to be the first wide receiver taken at +125 with Drake London, who was originally the favorite. Wilson was +110.
It’s about as likely to be London at this point, per the markets.
Hamilton’s freefall ends here. Once the favorite to go second overall, his draft position prop is now 8.5 with a -135 the price to bet over.
12. Minnesota Vikings: CB DEREK STINGLEY JR., LSU
Stingley’s draft position prop is 12.5 with -130 to the over.
13. Houston Texans (via CLV): DRAKE LONDON, USC
London is the co-favorite to be the first wide receiver taken at +125. He’s -120 to go in the top-10, and his draft position prop is 10.5 (-120 to the under).
14. Baltimore Ravens: DI JORDAN DAVIS, GEORGIA
Davis is the player with the highest draft-position prop on the market at 13.5, and it’s -140 to the over.
15. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (via MIA): EDGE GEORGE KARLAFTIS, PURDUE
This is where the pickings get slim (the defensive end/defensive tackle distinction has made some books nervous about posting these positions). The Purdue product is listed at 150/1 to be the first pick and 25/1 to be a top-10 pick — it's good value here for the Eagles.
16. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (via PHI): QB KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH
The Saints are the third-most likely team to draft Kenny Pickett at +400 behind the Panthers at +150 and the Steelers at +350. It’s natural to wonder if they traded up for this opportunity.
2022 NFL Draft position rankings:
Top 10 players at every position
The line for the number of offensive linemen taken in this draft is 7.5 (the under is priced at -140), and Penning is the fourth-most likely player to be taken first among the position group, at 20/1.
18. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (via NO): CB TRENT MCDUFFIE, WASHINGTON
At 12/1, McDuffee is the third-most likely player to be the first cornerback chosen.
19. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (via PHI): WR JAMESON WILLIAMS, ALABAMA
Williams is the third-most likely player to be the first wide receiver chosen, at +850.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: QB MATT CORRAL, OLE MISS
The number of quarterbacks taken in Round 1 is lined at 2.5 (-200 to the over), and Corral is 15/1 to be the first quarterback chosen (third-highest odds). Sam Howell of North Carolina is 18/1 to be the first quarterback taken.
21. New England Patriots: WR TREYLON BURKS, ARKANSAS
At 9/1, Burks is the fourth-most likely wide receiver to be taken first. The trade for Parker muddies this, but Burks still makes sense here for the Pats.
22. Green Bay Packers (via LV): WR CHRIS OLAVE, OHIO STATE
Olave is the fifth-most likely wide receiver to be taken first, at 14/1. Packers need wide receiver help. The line for the number of wide receivers taken in Round 1 is 5.5 (the over is priced at -150).
23. Arizona Cardinals: C TYLER LINDERBAUM, IOWA
Linderbaum, at 25/1, was the fifth-most likely offensive lineman to be taken first. He was also 25/1 to be a top-10 pick.
24. Dallas Cowboys: DI DEVONTE WYATT, GEORGIA
The number of SEC players taken in the first round is lined at 10.5 (the over is -135). Wyatt contributes to that here.
25. Buffalo Bills: G ZION JOHNSON, BOSTON COLLEGE
At 100/1, Johnson was tied for the sixth-most likely offensive lineman to be taken first.
26. Tennessee Titans: G KENYON GREEN, TEXAS A&M
Green at 100/1 was tied for the sixth-most likely offensive lineman to be taken first.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DI DEMARVIN LEAL, Texas A&M
The Bucs could go offensive line here, but that would push the number over 7.5. So, they go defensive line to replace Ndamukong Suh. Leal is listed as 200/1 to be the first overall pick.
28. Green Bay Packers: LB DEVIN LLOYD, UTAH
The first linebacker chosen, Lloyd has odds of 20/1 to be a top-10 pick versus 35/1 for Nakobe Dean.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA via SF): CB ANDREW BOOTH JR., CLEMSON
The Chiefs take the draft’s fourth cornerback (the line is 4.5, with the under priced at -150). Booth is 50/1 to be the first cornerback taken, the fourth-highest odds.
Watkins gets us to six wide receivers, hitting the over 4.5 (-150). He’s 35/1 to be the first wide receiver chosen, tied for the fifth-most among wide receivers with Jahan Dotson of Penn State. It also pushes the number of offensive players to 17, with the line of 16.5 (over -105) showing.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE BOYE MAFE, MINNESOTA
This is probably David Ojabo a month ago, as he is still listed as a long shot for some of the top picks. This gets the Big Ten to six players (they are lined 6.5, -120 to the over) drafted in the first round.
32. Detroit Lions (via LAR): S JAQUAN BRISKER, PENN STATE
Brisker gets the Big Ten to seven players drafted in Round 1, 15 defensive players (the line is 15.5, over is -125) and over 1.5 safeties (lined at -160).
- Offensive Players: 17 (16.5, -105 over/-125 under)
- Defensive Players: 15 (15.5, -125/-105)
- Quarterbacks: 3 (2.5, -200/+155)
- Running Backs: 0 (0.5, +150/-190)
- Tight Ends: 0 (0.5, +400/-600)
- Wide Receivers: 6 (5.5, -150/+120
- Offensive Linemen: 7 (7.5, +110/-140)
- Cornerbacks: 4 (4.5, +120, -150)
- Safeties: 2 (0.5, -160/+130)