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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 tight end position, as well as a look at the odds of some other standout prospects. (Odds courtesy of PointsBet Sportsbook)
First TE Selected Best Bet
Cole Kmet, Notre Dame (-167)
It wasn’t that long ago that Cole Kmet wasn’t popping up on the NFL Draft radar at all. Widely expected to return to school for his senior season, Kmet flipped that script when he declared for the draft in early January. Draft pundits and experts everywhere inserted him into their rankings, and you would be hard-pressed to find one who doesn’t have him at the very top.
While his opportunities were mostly limited during his first two seasons at Notre Dame, Kmet got his chance to shine in his junior (and final) collegiate season. His final stat line consisted of 43 receptions for 515 yards and 6 touchdowns. While he only reeled in 15 receptions during his sophomore campaign, he did finish with 10.8 yards per catch. Couple that with the 12.0 he averaged this past season and there is no denying he brings the ability to stretch the middle of the field.
Kmet stands 6’6” tall and weighed in at a sturdy 262 pounds at the NFL Combine. Despite that weight, he ran a 4.70-second 40-yard dash and 37” vertical jump. Those results backup his on-field performance at Notre Dame where he showcased his ability to separate from defenders in space and a knack for adjusting to an incoming pass wherever it is thrown. His size alone speaks to the difficulty of bringing him down after the catch, and he will likely only add to it under an NFL training regimen.
The biggest knock on Kmet is his blocking ability. His instincts and angles are viewed as below average. He is also noted as playing too upright, both coming off the ball and when he breaks in his routes. The latter is particularly concerning as it affords defenders extra time to read and jump on his routes. Of course, with hard work and the proper instruction, Kmet can certainly improve in each of these areas as a pro.
The current odds on Kmet of -165 imply a 62.3% chance of his being selected first. Based on all the reports and expert rankings out there, as well as the eye test itself, there is some value in the number. It doesn’t carry the plus-money payout many might be looking for in their NFL Draft wagers, but it is the best bet on the board at the tight end position. Lock it in now before it gets any higher.
Other TE Names to Know
Adam Trautman, Dayton (+460)
Trautman isn’t the quickest or most athletic of the top tight end prospects, but his ability to accelerate quickly into his routes and be a large target for his quarterback is undeniable. There is some question as to how he will fare jumping from FCS competition at Dayton to the NFL.
Thaddeus Moss, LSU (+800)
The son of Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss, Thaddeus brings both of those strengths to the table, as well as physicality in his run-blocking. He will need to work on his quickness and acceleration when getting into his routes after healing from surgery on his broken right foot, which prevented him from completing combine drills.
Hunter Bryant, Washington (+1000)
You could almost view the 6’2”, 232-pound speedster as more of a large slot receiver in the NFL than a tight end. He has above-average burst and route-running skills but lacks tight end size and is fairly scheme dependent.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (+1100)
At 6’5” and 252 pounds, Okwuegbunam wowed onlookers with his 4.49-second time in the 40 at the combine. His hands and ball skills are impressive, but his route running technique and physicality as a blocker are major question marks.