2022 NFL Draft Odds: Top 5 Surprises

First-Round Results Produce Hits and Misses

Many results in the 2022 NFL Draft came as a surprise. Some had to do more with players who were traded while some came as more of a surprise to Vegas odds. Below are five of the biggest surprises from an odds standpoint from Thursday’s first-round action.

No. 1 – Jermaine Johnson II’s Freefall

It was almost hard to fathom what pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II was going through mentally and emotionally during the first round of the NFL Draft. Earlier in the day, he was -225 to be a top-10 pick and the buzz was that the New York Jets were eying him with either the fourth or the 10th overall selection.

As it turned out, the Jets didn’t use either pick to select him. That caused Johnson II to go into a dizzying dive down the draft board. However, no pass rusher was selected from where he was mocked at No. 10 to when he was eventually picked at 26th after the Jets traded traded up to move back into the first round.

Some speculated it could be Johnson’s age that caused him to slip, while others say it was purely a case of media hype rather than what scouts and teams actually thought.

No. 2 – Malik Willis Drops

If we’re going to make a list of shocking storylines from the 2022 NFL Draft results, we almost have to throw Liberty quarterback Malik Willis in here. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin played things very close to the vest with this pick. While many speculated he would take a quarterback, many thought it would be Willis, who at one point on Thursday afternoon had -105 odds to be selected in the top 10 and was -200 to be the first quarterback taken. Those who took the over on his draft position of 13½  at -150 cashed easily.

Instead, the Steelers selected Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, who cashed the +200 to be the first quarterback taken. Not only will Pickett not have to move across the country, he’ll merely have to move down the hall, as the Steelers and the Pitt Panthers share the same practice facility — the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

No. 3 – Ravens Get Steal(s) of Draft

It always seems like the Baltimore Ravens get someone to fall right into their lap. At No. 14 overall and one of the best draft pick results, Baltimore selected Kyle Hamilton. He be one of the draft’s top overall prospects and likely would’ve been taken higher if he wasn’t a safety. The No. 5 overall prospect on the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s big board cashed the Ravens to take a defensive back wager at +350.

A month ago, it was almost inconceivable that Hamilton would fall out of the top 10. While his draft position to Vegas was over or under 12½ , the juice remained heavy on the under (-160) that he would indeed be selected before the 13th pick. Instead, arguably one of the best players in this draft who will be in contention to be a starter from day one fell to No. 14.

The Ravens also traded back up into the round to take center Tyler Linerbaum. Like Hamilton, his position held him back. Some viewed Linderbaum as the best offensive lineman in this draft. But because he’s a center and not a tackle, he fell to the end of the first, allowing Baltimore to swoop in and get another day one starter.

No. 4 – Vegas on it … as Usual

Sometimes you look at a point spread and totally disagree with the number. Then, you look up while that event is going on and see that the final score  and/or total is going to be almost dead on with the sportsbooks. That’s basically what happened with positional odds and conference odds, as Vegas was right on predicting these NFL Draft results.

Coming into the 2022 NFL Draft, odds in Vegas had the over-under for total receivers selected at 6½. If you took the under, you won by the hook as six were selected. Total defensive players were mocked at 15½, with the over barely cashing with a perfect split of 16 offensive and 16 defensive players selected. The number for cornerbacks was 4½ and the final total was four, cashing the -130 under. Safeties over 1½ at -350 cashed with three safeties, while under 2½ quarterbacks cashed at even odds with just one selected. Nine offensive lineman were selected, cashing the over seven.

As for conferences, Vegas was right on that, too. The line was set at 10½ players to be drafted from the SEC and it went over when the Green Bay Packers selected Devonte Wyatt at 28th overall. The Big Ten cashed its over of 6½ when the Kansas CIty Chiefs took Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis to cash the -140 over.

The ACC and Pac-12 both went under the projected mark of 4½ players drafted with four each.

No. 5 – One Word: Receivers

Going into Thursday’s draft, the overall narrative was that it was a weak class at quarterback, but talented almost everywhere else, especially at wide receiver. However, the wide receivers didn’t go particularly how the experts projected.

For instance, Drake London was the first wide receiver selected, cashing the +250 positional odds as well as a +300 bet if you had him slated to go eighth. Garrett Wilson to the Jets at No. 10 wasn’t shocking, especially since most thought it would be Wilson to hear his name called first out of the receivers.

With the very next pick, the New Orleans Saints moved up for the 24th time in 16 drafts to select Wilson’s teammate at Ohio State, Chris Olave. The Saints were +250 to take a wide receiver with their first pick, behind both quarterback (+175) and offensive line at +200. Jameis Winston gets his deep threat.

The Detroit Lions made it three receivers selected in a row when they traded up to select Jameson Williams at No 12. Williams is coming back from a torn ACL and the timetable for his return remains to be seen. Jahan Dotson to the Washington Commanders at No. 16 came as a surprise, considering Vegas had his draft position over-under at 30½.

A.J. Brown being traded in the middle of the first round was perhaps the most shocking moment of the night overall, but that opened the door for the Tennessee Titans to select wide receiver Treylon Burks with the 18th selection, cashing the +300 bet that the Titans would take a wide receiver with their first pick.

Perhaps just as shocking as some of the teams who selected wide receivers, or traded up to do so, were the teams who didn’t select take a player at the position. After the departures of superstar wide receivers, many speculated that the Kansas City Chiefs would look to find a replacement for Tyreek Hill, while the Green Bay Packers would opt for a Davante Adams replacement. Both teams possessed multiple first-round picks, but neither selected a wide receiver in the first round.

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