While the 2020 NFL Draft will no longer be physically held in Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 outbreak, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some prop bet action over the course of the three-day event. One popular NFL Draft bet is picking who will be the first player selected at each position. Here is my best bet for the offensive line position, as well as a look at the odds of some other standout prospects. (Odds courtesy of PointsBet Sportsbook)
And you can view all of our 2020 NFL Draft Prop Bets here.
First OL Selected Best Bet
Andrew Thomas, Georgia (+750)
The race to be the first offensive lineman off the board when the NFL Draft begins has four key players. At +750, Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas is by far the longest shot of the group, despite his name appearing first among a number of expert rankings tables and mock drafts. The betting price is almost mind-blowing, and any player who showed the ability to thrive in the face of SEC play is not to be taken lightly.
Thomas was a top-50 recruit and easy 5-star prospect coming out of high school. He made good on that ranking at Georgia where he was a 3-year starter and found himself in the Joe Moore Award conversation each season. He made the decision to forego his senior year for the NFL and you can’t really blame him. Thomas should enter the league as a starter from day 1.
Size-wise, Thomas holds his own amongst this year’s top prospects, checking in at 6’5” and 315 lbs. at the NFL Combine. His hands measure 10¼”, plenty big enough to steer opposing pass rushers away from the quarterback. Many of his combine drill numbers don’t really pop. He ran a 5.22-second 40-yard dash, achieved 21 reps on the bench press, and only had a vertical jump of 30.5. He impressed on the 20-yard shuttle run relative to other highly touted linemen with a time of 4.66 seconds.
Tackles are in high demand at the NFL level, and Thomas has the ability to play on either the right or left side of the line. While some of the knocks against him include limited lateral movement, choppy footwork when dropping back on pass protection slides and the tendency to be heavy-legged, Thomas possesses various strengths to overcome them. He has the unique ability to re-set his feet to improve leverage and positioning on blocks. This helps him recover well when his technique does break down, and he is able to do enough to keep defenders from beating him entirely. Thomas brings a competitive mentality to the gridiron, and his strong hands are a force to be reckoned with.
The current +750 odds imply just an 11.8% chance that Thomas will be the first offensive lineman drafted. While this is less than some of the other names reviewed below, the gap in talent and evaluations doesn’t seem to be as drastic. Any NFL team could benefit from a strong tackle who can play either side. The value in this bet lies firmly with Thomas.
Other OL Names to Know
Mekhi Becton, Louisville (+165)
Becton is the largest of the top OL prospects, measuring 6’7” and 364 lbs. at the combine. He will definitely need to shed some of that weight if he is to have any sort of sustained NFL career. But even at his current size, Becton possesses plenty of strength and athletic ability, and his 7-foot wingspan allows for an emergency recovery ability.
Jedrick Wills, Alabama (+175)
Wills is on the small side relative to the norm for NFL tackles. He makes up for this with terrific leverage, fluidity, and flexibility throughout his blocking process and quickness that can be likened to that of a tight end. Aside from his lack of size, Wills will also need to work on controlling his zone blocks.
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa (+185)
At 6’5” and 320 lbs., Wirfs impressed at the combine, running a 4.85-second 40, hitting 36.5 inches on the vertical jump, and getting 24 reps on the bench press. He is lean and mean with exceptional lateral quickness and technical blocking skills. A lack of explosiveness and inconsistent change-of-direction are among the knocks against him.