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NFL Draft Burning Questions: Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr, Ladd McConkey (Fantasy Football)

NFL Draft Burning Questions: Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr, Ladd McConkey (Fantasy Football)

The 2024 NFL Draft is nearly here. After months of preparation, the three-day event is a week away. However, no one knows what will happen after the Chicago Bears draft Caleb Williams with the first overall pick.

For this edition of NFL Draft Burning Questions, we are going to change it up. I will dive into the betting market and look at some positional first-round over/until totals. While many expect the first round to be heavy with offensive players, how many defensive guys will get drafted on Day 1? Let’s dive into that and more.

Be sure to check out BettingPros for all the latest 2024 NFL Draft odds. And join our 2024 NFL Draft Prop Picks Challenge to win prizes!

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Burning Questions

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)

Over (-140)/Under (+110) 10.5 Defensive Players Selected in the First Round?

This year’s draft class is loaded with offensive talent. While there likely won’t be a first-round running back after two were Day 1 picks in 2023, we could see a record number of offensive players taken on opening night. The record stands at 19 offensive players, happening three times, with the most recent coming in 2009. While the record should get broken this year, don’t expect it to get blown out of the water. Instead, there will likely be 20-21 offensive players drafted.

Therefore, I would bet the over on 10.5 defensive players selected in the first round. There are seven presumed first-round locks — Byron Murphy II, Dallas Turner, Chop Robinson, Jared Verse, Quinyon Mitchell, Terrion Arnold and Cooper DeJean. Four other defensive players will likely get picked on Day 1 — Jer’Zhan Newton, Laiatu Latu, Nate Wiggins and Kool-Aid McKinstry. Even if one of those four doesn’t get picked, the total of defensive players selected is still 11.

Furthermore, there could be a curve ball thrown into the mix. Last year, Jack Campbell and Mazi Smith were surprise first-round picks on defense. Maybe a team late in the first round selects Braden Fiske, Darius Robinson or Marshawn Kneeland. The draft class being loaded with offensive talent works in favor of the over hitting on defense. Teams could wait until Day 2 to address their offensive needs because of the depth of the draft class, creating more opportunities for defense players to get picked.

Over (-170)/Under (+135) 4.5 Quarterbacks Selected in the First Round?

At one point last year many believed there would be five first-round quarterbacks drafted. Instead, there were three in the top four picks and two on Day 2. However, that won’t be the case this year, as the quarterback class is significantly better than in 2023. Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are widely considered locks to be the first three players drafted this year. Meanwhile, J.J. McCarthy likely doesn’t make it out of the top six picks, landing with either the Minnesota Vikings or New York Giants.

That leaves two other potential first-round quarterbacks — Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. The fact the betting market hasn’t pushed the over/under to 5.5 first-round quarterbacks is surprising. Many believe Nix will land with the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, Penix’s draft stock is soundly in the first-round mix, potentially coming off the board as early as 13th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders. Reportedly, the NFL is sour on next year’s quarterback class, which could force some teams to get aggressive and draft one early this year.

Over (-205)/Under (+165) 9.5 Offensive Linemen Selected in the First Round?

The over/under for offensive linemen selected in the first round was at 10.5 in some spots a week ago. With the number dropping by one, it makes picking a side slightly harder. However, I will still take the under. This year’s draft class has several first-round graded offensive tackles. Joe Alt is a top-10 lock, while Troy Fautanu, Taliese Fuaga, Olumuyiwa Fashanu, JC Latham, Amarius Mims and Tyler Guyton are all likely top-25 picks.

Meanwhile, Graham Barton played offensive tackle at Duke but many believe he will be a decade-long starter at guard or center in the NFL. That sets the first-round total at eight, meaning two of Jordan Morgan, Jackson Powers-Johnson and Zach Frazier need to come off the board for the end of Day 1. Morgan has the best odds of the trio, as he played offensive tackle in college. However, his arm length might force him to guard. It might be a close call but give me the under.

Over (+180)/Under (-240) 6.5 Wide Receivers Selected in the First Round?

While last year’s wide receiver class was solid, there wasn’t a top-15 guy. That won’t be the case this year, as Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze won’t make it out of the top 10. Brian Thomas Jr. won’t be a top-10 pick but is a first-round lock. Similarly, Texas duo Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell are all but guaranteed to get drafted on Day 1, bringing the wide receiver total to six. However, it could reach as high as eight or nine.

It’s been 20 years since the 2004 NFL Draft. Larry Fitzgerald was the first of seven first-round wide receivers selected that year, setting the record. However, that record is at risk of being tied, if not broken, on Thursday night. Ladd McConkey and Xavier Legette have worked their way into the first-round conversation. Meanwhile, Troy Franklin could come off the board late on Day 1 despite a subpar pre-draft process.

There are several wide receiver-needy teams at the end of the first round, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t be surprised if three of the final five picks are wide receivers. While the draft class is deep, there is a drop-off in talent after the first nine or so guys. Therefore, teams picking in the middle part of the second round might feel pressured into trading into the late first to secure one of those wide receivers.

2024 NFL Mock Drafts

Here are a few early predictions for the 2024 NFL Draft. We’ll continue to add our 2024 NFL Mock Drafts leading up to the start of Round 1.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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