Bet Turner as NFL’s First Defensive Player Drafted

QB-Heavy Draft Still Has Stellar Defensive Players

The 2024 NFL Draft is just a few days away, so mock drafts are everywhere. When trying to determine the NFL’s first defensive player drafted, however, it isn’t going to be at the top of the draft like it often is. This year’s draft class is full of quarterbacks with teams trying to move up to take one.

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Looking at the betting odds, there is an obvious favorite in Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner. Still, as NFL trade rumors fly, there are a few other players who could leap into that coveted spot.

Turner is listed on DraftKings at -150 odds, the best for any defensive player. After that, it gets a little bunched up, with UCLA’s Laiatu Latu listed at +400, Florida State’s Jared Verse at +550, and Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell at +700.

Crimson Tide logo Dallas Turner, Alabama Edge (-150)

When teams look to move up the NFL power rankings, they often focus on rushing the quarterback. That’s why Turner is considered the best bet as the first defensive player picked on April 25. At 6-3, 247 pounds, Turner is a beast with the speed and power to get past offensive linemen.

The junior All-American had 11 sacks, 53 tackles (including 15.5 for loss), and 13 quarterback hurries in helping the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff. After the flurry of quarterbacks at the top of this draft, teams will look for a young, hungry pass rusher, and that’s just what Turner is.

Bruins logo Laiatu Latu, UCLA DL (+400)

On a 7-5 UCLA squad in 2023, Latu was a standout, recording 13 sacks among his 49 total tackles, making two interceptions and forcing two fumbles. At 6-5, 265, Latu has also shown some ability to play in pass coverage, recording a pair of passes defended in 2023.

Latu also had 10.5 sacks, 36 total tackles, and three forced fumbles as a sophomore, showing he’s not a one-hit-wonder. Latu left the Bruins following his junior season to enter the draft.

Seminoles logoJared Verse, Florida State Edge (+550)

Continuing the trend of pass rushers being coveted by teams that want to beat the NFL games odds, Florida State senior Jared Verse is another player who is getting short odds to be the first defensive player taken. Verse started his career at Albany before playing two seasons with the Seminoles.

The 6-4, 254-pound former tight end had nine sacks, 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups in 2023. Verse is, as his name almost says, versatile, able to go out into pass coverage as well as rush the passer, though the latter is the skill NFL teams are going to draft him for.

Rockets logo Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo CB (+700)

The top-rated defensive back, Mitchell is up among the best bets to be the NFL first defensive player drafted despite playing in the Mid-American Conference with the Rockets. Mitchell is 6-0 and 195 pounds and had 32 pass breakups over the past two seasons, which led the country.

Mitchell has the speed and body to be a shutdown corner, so he’ll be an NFL player that many teams would like to get on their roster. The junior had 41 tackles and one interception in 2023 after making five picks and 42 tackles as a sophomore. If a team needs a jolt to their defensive backfield, they will take Mitchell.

For NFL betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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