NFL Draft: Defensive Backs Odds/Rankings
Our NFL Draft articles zero in on the Defensive Backs today.
Now, betting on the defensive side of the draft opens things up for much debate. Who may be the first Defensive Back taken? Who will make the most significant impact? Are there surprises some pundits may be missing?
As always, few agree here, which makes it fun.
Let’s go all in and examine how the NFL betting sites see it and how we think it will go.
Best Bets On Defensive Backs for the NFL Draft
A few months ago, betting a half-dozen defensive backs to go in Round 1 seemed like crazy talk. Now, DraftKings has the Over of 5.5 set at -145. This number was 4.5 and at +155 in February. Most projections mock around six or seven defensive backs to be taken within the first 32 picks.
Only a couple of cornerbacks are expected to be selected in the first 10, according to DraftKings. Christian Gonzalez of Oregon and Devon Witherspoon of Illinois come in at -200 and -425, respectively.
Now, some believe that Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State may be a dark horse to sneak into the Top 10. Porter continues to rise on boards and that +1500 (top-10 selection) number expects to be much shorter by the weekend.
From a draft position standpoint, a cornerback like Devon Witherspoon may be set up for a fall, according to the books. He is -200 at Under 7.5, whereas Christian Gonzalez is Under 8.5 at -145. Meanwhile, Joey Porter Jr. easily expects to go in the top 15 now (-225 at 14.5 or higher).
Mapping Out These Secondary Prospects for the NFL Draft
The belief is that Christian Gonzalez is expected to go first among the cornerbacks and safeties. Again, Joey Porter Jr. can still sneak into the mix. One of the players we want people to keep an eye on is Brian Branch. The cerebral safety from Alabama gets underrated in many places. His ability to stop the run is second to none and Branch can stick it to even the fastest running backs and wide receivers.
Gonzalez could make the biggest impact initially. His track level speed is not just for the 40 but for the 100 as well. His size is of a prototypical cover guy at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. That’s partly why mocks have him going between 8th and 10th on average.
Why are defensive backs so plentiful? That is easy. Look at the SEC and Big 10. Five of the top six players are from those two conferences. However, do not sleep on some of the other power conferences. There are loads of talent. Branch and Porter Jr. improved every year of college. They were afterthoughts early in their careers.
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Not Quite So Easy To Project These NFL Draft Prospects
The one cornerback that is becoming a challenge is Devon Witherspoon of Illinois. His average draft position has fallen to around 17th, but many still project him in the Top 10 anyway. Witherspoon has enough speed to stay with most receivers and running backs. He does not have to hand-check players, either.
Some teams are a little worried about his ability to stay with some of the quickest wide-outs on the next level. He graded out the best on most NFL Draft sites for a reason. Again, Witherspoon could bulk up early in his career and not lose any speed. Think of Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State, who is even lighter at only 166 pounds. The same rule applies.
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Serving Up Some Intriguing Talent for the NFL Draft
Don't be surprised to see Kelee Ringo from Georgia make a huge impression in the NFL. The 6-2, 207-pound beast combines a rapier-like wingspan with speed and power. He may be fifth or sixth among cornerbacks, but players like Forbes and Cam Smith have risen as more film has come in from the SEC.
Ringo expects not to go in the first round but could be grabbed in the second round as teams reach for top potential talent. Even D.J. Turner from Michigan possesses crazy speed and athletic ability. However, he will be a bit of a project and might not go until the middle rounds. Someone is going to get a heck of a player with incredible potential in the right system.
Antonio Johnson is not the fastest guy and may fall because of some of his poor NFL combine numbers. However, the Texas A&M standout will land in a scheme where run defense is paramount. He defends the run like few players from this draft. Do not sleep on some of these prospects, as this figures to be a sneaky, good position in the NFL Draft.
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