NFL Draft Betting Preview: Edge Rushers Odds, Bets to Consider
Behind quarterback, edge rushers have regularly been valued at the top of the NFL Drafts. Over the last 10 years, 13 edges have been drafted in the top five, including the top two picks last year with Travon Walker going No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 to the Detroit Lions.
Defensive edges have once again made their way to the top of the NFL betting odds boards and mock drafts this year once again. Here’s a rundown of the top defensive edge rushers who are expected to have their names called when the NFL Draft starts on April 27.
Who Will be the Top Edge Rusher in the NFL Draft?
Former Alabama QB Bryce Young is favored to go No. 1, but the Crimson Tide also featured one of the best defensive players over the last three seasons. No other player has had a greater impact on Alabama’s defensive success than Will Anderson, who stepped in as a freshman to record seven sacks during the 2020 national championship run before being named the SEC Defensive Player the following two seasons. Anderson finished with 58.5 tackles and 34.5 sacks during that span and earned Heisman Trophy recognition, ending up fifth in the 2021 voting.
Anderson is a physical monster at 6-foot-3, 253 pounds, who sports the first-step quickness that led Myles Garrett, Chase Young and Nick Bosa to be early first-round choices.
“I like to watch Nick Bosa a lot,” Anderson told the media. “I like the way he likes to do his bull spike and stuff like that and I would like to implement that into my game.”
Anderson is the favorite to go No. 2 currently to the Houston Texans or whoever has the second pick in this year’s draft. FanDuel Sportsbook has Anderson at +150 as the favorite to be selected second overall. He is also the favorite to be the first defensive player drafted at -340 on FanDuel.
What Edge Rushers are Moving Up the NFL Draft Board?
Despite all the hype around Anderson, Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson has risen in mock drafts. Mock drafts and analysts have given credence to the idea Wilson is selected ahead of Anderson. He could be taken as high as No. 2. Peter King of Pro Football Talk mentioned Wilson could be taken second by the Texans if the team decides to pass on Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud.
One coach with a pick in the Top 10 told King that they believe Wilson will be a better pro than Anderson, and new Houston coach Demeco Ryans could look to build his defense around Wilson.
Despite missing three games last season, the 6-6, 271-pound Wilson had the most pressures in the Big 12 with 50. Wilson also had the highest pressure rate in the conference at 20.7%.
FanDuel and DraftKings are also buying into the Wilson hype. FanDuel has Wilson as the second-best odds behind Anderson to go No. 2 at +310 and lists him at +340 to be the first defensive player drafted. DraftKings Sportsbook lists Wilson at +350 to go No. 2 behind Anderson (+140) and Stroud (+225).
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Who is the Fastest Edge in the NFL Draft?
Great pass rushers typically excel with a quick-twitch burst, in addition to directional versatility, body control and flexibility. The three-cone drill is one of the NFL Combine exercises that fit into these categories.
Jose Ramirez of Eastern Michigan had the fastest three-cone drill at this year’s combine at 6.95. Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness was second at 7.02. Van Ness is one name that made its way onto the FanDuel betting board. He’s currently +10000 to be the first defensive player drafted.
Van Ness led Iowa with 10.5 tackles for loss and had six sacks in 13 games. He also ran the 10th-fastest 40-yard dash at the combine (4.58). Anderson and Wilson have dominated the headlines regarding this year’s edge class, but Van Ness has worked his way up into the top 10 in some mock drafts, including CBS Sports, which projects him to go as high as No. 6.
Georgia edge Nolan Smith tallied the fastest 40-yard dash at 4.39.
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