2013 NFL Mock Draft: An Oddsmaker’s Take

The first round of the 2013 NFL draft commences Thursday at 8 p.m. ET as teams search for the best young talent from the college ranks, meaning it’s time for 2013 NFL Mock Draft picks and discussion. Last season, the first round produced such superstars at Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Luke Kuechly and Doug Martin, but who will be the top names selected this year? With no consensus from NFL Draft experts like ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, we were curious as to what the oddsmakers thought of this year’s draft.

Right now, both McShay and Kiper have the Kansas City Chiefs selecting Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel with the first overall selection, so we looked up the NFL draft player props at Bovada to determine whether this was the consensus. Although there is no proposition bet directly correlating with the top pick, it’s interesting to note that there are no other prop bets involving Joeckel except the outside possibility (+700) that he goes number two to the Jaguars.

If we presume that the Chiefs take Joeckel with their pick, our attention quickly turns to the Jacksonville Jaguars at two. This team has more holes than a sieve, and is in a position to simply take the best player available. According to Bovada’s prop page, Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher (+100) is the favorite to go second, followed by Oregon DE Dion Jordan (+200), BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah (+350), the aforementioned Joeckel, and the long shot — West Virginia QB Geno Smith (+1,500).

At number three, there seems to be a strong consensus that Florida DT Sharrif Floyd will be the Raiders’ selection. At 6’3″ 300 pounds, Floyd would be able to step in for the recently departed Tommy Kelly and help an Oakland defense that finished last season ranked 28th in the NFL in points allowed.

In his first season as head coach of the Eagles, Chip Kelly will have some tough decisions to make with the fourth pick. Although Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson (+150) is considered the frontrunner, other options include DT Star Lotulelei (+175) and DE Dion Jordan (+200) who played under Kelly at Oregon. It’s also important to note that this pick could easily be shopped with the Eagles trading down to acquire multiple draft picks. In fact, Bovada has posed the question, “Will the Eagles trade the 4th pick overall?” with “Yes” currently a slight dog at +170.

The fifth pick brings even more confusion as Lane Johnson (+125) is also the odds-on favorite to be selected here. However, if we assume that he has already been taken, other possibilities for the Detroit Lions include Ezekiel Ansah (+200), Eric Fisher (+300) and Alabama CB Dee Miliner (+450).

The table below compares the most recent 2013 NFL mock draft picks from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay to these oddsmaker projections to see if there are any discrepancies.

Team Mel Kiper Todd McShay Sportsbook
1. Kansas City Chiefs Luke Joeckel Luke Joeckel Luke Joeckel
2. Jacksonville Jaguars Ezekiel Ansah Eric Fisher Eric Fisher
3. Oakland Raiders Sharrif Floyd Sharrif Floyd Sharrif Floyd
4. Philadelphia Eagles Geno Smith Lane Johnson Lane Johnson
5. Detroit Lions Dee Miliner Ezekiel Ansah Ezekiel Ansah

While there are some differences between McShay and Kiper, you can see that McShay’s 2013 NFL mock draft predictions actually line up identically with these oddsmakers projections. Still, if you did feel that Kiper has more credibility than McShay, you might want to lay a bet on Ansah to the Jags at +350 and Miliner to the Lions at +450. Strangely enough, there are no prop bets involving Geno Smith going to the Eagles.

In fact, according to the odds from both Bovada and Sportsbook.com, Geno Smith’s draft position will depend on the actions of the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills at numbers 7 and 8, respectively. Both of these organizations are in dire need of a franchise quarterback, but after trading for Carson Palmer, the Cardinals may be looking to address other needs with their first round selection.

At number eight, the Bills are still looking for a QB, but keep an eye out for Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib. The 6’2″ gunslinger played for first-year Bills coach Doug Marrone at ‘Cuse, so don’t be shocked if Geno isn’t even the first quarterback selected.  That said, Geno Smith’s over/under has been set at 8.5 but could slip substantially if both Buffalo and Arizona pass on the former Mountaineer.

Other fascinating over/under draft props include Tavon Austin at 13.5, Eddie Lacy at 22.5 (with heavy juice on the over), Matt Barkley at 37.5, Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu at 75.5 and Marcus Lattimore — whose season ended prematurely due to a dislocated right knee — at 84.5.

Of course, all eyes will be focused intently on Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o — and not just to see if there’s an empty chair next to him reserved for Lennay Kekua. Bovada has posted an over/under of 25.5, although there is currently heavy juice on the under. Right now Mel Kiper has the controversial linebacker going 20th to the Chicago Bears while McShay projects that the Vikings will snatch up Te’o with the 25th pick.

Looking for other trends to monitor? Oddsmakers expect the first round to be heavy with defensive players (over/under 19 defensive players) and light on offensive playmakers (over/under 3 receivers).

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