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With the 2020 NFL Draft just weeks away, NFL Draft props are being released in full force. Here at BettingPros, we will be covering a variety of those props to assist in your wager decision making. Today we will be taking a look at BetMGM’s prop for the total amount of offensive linemen that will be drafted in the first round. What we know for sure is that at least four of them will be going in the early first round. Offensive linemen come at a premium in the NFL, so there could be more drafted than expected. Let’s take a look at the odds and some of the candidates.
2020 NFL Draft – Total Offensive Linemen Drafted in the First Round
Andrew Thomas (LT – Georgia)
Arguably the top pure left tackle prospect in the draft class, Andrew Thomas is destined to hear his name called in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. A powerful left tackle who dominates in the run game, Thomas has flashed in pass protection. Once he gets his pass blocking technique cleaned up, Thomas could easily become a perennial Pro Bowler. He may not have the massive upside of a Mekhi Becton, but his much safer floor could make him the first tackle off the board at the end of the month.
Mekhi Becton (LT – Louisville)
A massive run blocking left tackle, Mekhi Becton has All-Pro uspide. He is a force in the run game and turned a lot of heads with his athleticism and smooth drills at the 2020 NFL Combine. He is a work in progress in pass protection, but if he gets it figured out, he could become one of the best left tackles in the league. Upside is Becton’s calling card, but his floor may keep him from being the first offensive tackle selected. Mekhi Becton is a lock for the first round.
Jedrick Wills (OL – Alabama)
A right tackle by trade, Wills is an intriguing prospect who showed enough at the NFL Combine to make many believe that he should at least be tried on the left side in the pros. It is important to note that the right side was Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s blind side, which means that Wills was indeed a blindside protector. Like Thomas and Becton above, Wills is more advanced in the run blocking department than he is in the passing game. Wills could turn into a quality starter on the outside but has the type of mean streak and skill set to become an All-Pro if his NFL team decides to kick him inside. Whatever his future NFL team has planned for him, the one thing that is certain is that whatever team wants him will have to spend an early first-round pick to acquire his services.
Tristan Wirfs (OL – Iowa)
Tristan Wirfs put on an exceptional performance at the 2020 NFL Combine, and rightly or wrongly now has some buzz to be the first tackle off the board. His probability to be the first offensive lineman selected goes up if a certain team keeps their draft slot, and goes offensive lineman. Wirfs was a right tackle at Iowa but likely showed enough at the NFL Combine to convince some NFL teams to at least give him a shot to compete for a blindside job. He has a range of outcomes in terms of the position he ultimately ends up sticking at (he has the most upside at guard), but he is a no-doubt first-round talent. Wirfs makes it four offensive linemen that are certain to hear their names called in the first round.
Josh Jones (OT – Houston)
Josh Jones was one of the biggest risers of the NFL’s pre-draft process. He shined at the Senior Bowl and had a strong performance at the 2020 NFL Combine. Jones is an impressive left tackle with good length, strength, and lateral movement skills. One of the top pure tackle prospects in this draft class, Jones should hear his name called in the second half of the first round. Considering how valuable quality offensive linemen are in today’s NFL, it would be a big surprise if he lasted until day two.
Austin Jackson (LT – USC)
A powerful left tackle with a good motor, Austin Jackson should hear his name called on day one. Quality left tackles are a prized commodity in the NFL, so Jackson, who is expected to be drafted in the 20s, could actually sneak into the teens. A first-round talent through and through, Jackson makes six players who played offensive tackle that are expected to be drafted in the first round.
Cesar Ruiz (C – Michigan)
Cesar Ruiz is a first-round talent. While centers are not often drafted in the first round, certain teams could be very interested in his services in the 20s. Unfortunately, the team that probably covets him the most will likely not deem him a value at their current draft position. One of the favorites to trade back in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys could have their sights set on Ruiz if they manage to swing a trade to move back a few spots. While Ruiz may never be as dominant as Travis Frederick was, he is an instant starter that has a first-round grade.
Lucas Niang (OT – TCU)
While there are some offensive tackles with more upside than Lucas Niang, he may have one of the safest floors as an edge setter outside of the names listed above. Niang has starter upside and may be the target of a team that decides to trade back, or into the tail end of the first round. It is arguable as to whether or not Niang is a true first-round talent, but the dearth of offensive linemen in the NFL could work in his favor. There are a number of more talented offensive linemen, but Niang has the strength, length, and tape to suggest he could be a long term starter for his NFL team. That may just prove to be too enticing for a team to pass up after the top six names are off the board.
Ezra Cleveland (OT – Boise State)
An athletic left tackle who may struggle to stay on the outside in the pros, Cleveland put on a show at the 2020 NFL Combine. Considered more of a mid-to-late day two talent prior to Indianapolis, Cleveland is now on the cusp of the first round. While most NFL teams will still likely have him as a second or third round talent, it only takes one team to fall in love with a prospect for him to be drafted in the first round, just ask the Atlanta Falcons 2019 first-round pick, Kaleb McGary. The extra year of team control a team will be afforded if they draft a prospect like Cleveland late in the first, as opposed to the second round, will be a huge selling point for teams that are interested enough in the left tackle from Boise State, or one of the bubble names listed below.
On the bubble: Tyler Biadsz, Saahdiq Charles, Netane Muti, Matt Peart, Prince Tega Wanogho, Llyodd Cushenberry, Isaiah Wilson.
This was a very well set line. There is almost certain to be six offensive linemen drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. However, after that everything is up in the air. There is a first-round talent at a position that does not often get drafted in the first round. There are other players with enough upside to be highly sought after commodities at the end of day one. As expected, the under is the betting favorite for this prop at -143 at BetMGM. The under is indeed the safer play, but the over may be the smarter play. There is a surprise offensive lineman drafted in the first round almost every year, and there is no reason to think that this year will be any different. There is true value on both potential sides of this prop offering, but the over appears to have a slightly higher win probability and has the added benefit of coming in at plus money. Lock this in as a one unit play.