The 2014 wide receiver draft class will be hard to beat.
The 2020 receiver draft class might not be that good, but it won’t be far behind.
The NFL is becoming more wide open each year, and it’s good timing that there are plenty of talented receivers for teams to add in the draft. And teams like the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles have obvious needs at the position.
The receivers might be the most interesting position group of the draft after the quarterbacks, and BetMGM in New Jersey has some betting opportunities on the position.
Which receiver will be selected first?
In the latest mock draft by Yahoo Sports’ NFL draft expert Eric Edholm, receivers went 11th, 12th and 13th. Yet the odds on the first receiver off the board don’t necessarily reflect how little separation there might be between the top three receivers in the class.
Alabama teammates Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb are the consensus top three in the class, and BetMGM’s odds reflect that:
Who will be the first receiver drafted?
Nobody else is less than 40-to-1. Oddsmakers see it as a three-man race, and that seems to be accurate.
Ruggs is clearly the best value at +250. He has world-class speed, posting a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine. That can transform an offense.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Jeudy or Lamb end up being the first receiver selected, but there’s a good argument to be made for any of the three, and Ruggs is getting the best odds. There’s another BetMGM prop for Ruggs, setting the over/under on his draft position at 17.5 (Jeudy and Lamb are each 12.5), and the under is -167. If you don’t mind laying some extra juice, the under seems like the right play.
How many receivers go in the first round?
Here’s Edholm’s take on the 2020 receiver class: “We've now started to draft away from the six-WRs-in-Round 1 talk in recent draft conversations I've had. Yes, this is an excellent WR class — probably the best depth I can ever remember. Bryan Edwards and Michael Pittman Jr. don't have a shot in heck to go first round, and that's wild; in a normal year, maybe they're in the conversation. But to me, I think you have four Round 1 sureties: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson. I wasn't sure about Jefferson, but I am starting to be pretty darned sure now. And I think there's a decent shot at a fifth, but I'm not sure Denzel Mims cracks the top 32, and I'm maybe 50-50 that either (or both) Jalen Reagor or Brandon Aiyuk does. Of those three, I'd say Aiyuk has the best chance. So I am around five Round 1 receivers.
“If I had to pick my guess of who the first one taken is, I'm not hesitating on Ruggs. If I am wrong, I'm wrong. But speed and size are what people trade up for. There is no superhuman mass of humanity at the position. But what there is? Ruggs' elite speed — and his elite competitiveness. Those two together make him especially alluring. If I had to guess, I'd say he's surely off the board by San Francisco at No. 13 — and likely higher. The Jets at No. 11 certainly are eyeing him. And there are others. That trumps everything, even if I personally have Lamb and Jeudy ranked higher.”
I’m following Edholm’s lead here and finding a pretty good value on BetMGM’s board:
Total receivers drafted in first round
Over 5.5 -250; Under 5.5 +200
While there could be a rush on receivers at the end of the first round, I don’t think that’s a sure thing. If Mims falls out of the first round, it’s a stretch to get to six. There certainly could be a late first-round run on receivers and push the total over, but at +200 it’s worth the risk.
This will be a memorable receiver class that will impact the NFL right away. There’s still plenty of intrigue over how many get selected on day one, and which one goes first.
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