I have no idea what Chip Kelly has up his sleeve for tonight's first round of the NFL Draft as well as for the other six rounds on Friday and Saturday so I am not even going to attempt to post my final mock draft as originally planned because I happen to truly believe it would be a tremendous waist of time. This will be his third draft as the Eagles' head coach, but his first as a general manager with complete control of all player personnel decisions so anything can happen between now and when Tampa Bay is "on the clock" with the first overall pick.
What I did decide to do is make a few picks on some of the numerous betting props that have been released in conjunction with tonight's opening round.The first set of betting odds deal with the eventual draft position for some of the top prospects in this year's draft. I decided to zero-in on Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Georgia running back Todd Gurley as two of my top picks.
The betting odds that Cooper is selected before the sixth overall pick of the first round are set at -120 and they remain the same that he is picked higher than that. Most draft experts are confident that the Oakland Raiders will select Cooper with the fourth overall pick and I happen to agree. The names and faces with this franchise may have changed since the days when owner Al Davis made all of the personnel decisions, but I believe the general philosophy of drafting speedy wide receivers has not. Cooper is widely considered the best prospect at wide receiver in a very deep pool of talent and more than worthy of being a top five pick.
I also took a hard look at the betting odds for Gurley's draft position which were set at -120 for both UNDER or OVER 15.5. Draft guru Todd McShay had him going to the New York Jets on one of his most recent mock drafts, while his counterpart Mel Kiper Jr. has Gurley falling to Cleveland with the 19th pick of the first round. I am not sure what the Jets are going to do with that pick, but I am going to side with McShay that Gurley is "off the board" by the time Houston is "on the clock" with pick No. 16.
Running backs rarely get picked in the first round since many teams feel they can find a quality runner in the later rounds of the draft. While I do think that Gurley breaks the mold in this year's draft, I am going with the UNDER 1.5 at +500 on total running backs taken in the first round. Even though the money line odds on the OVER have skyrocketed to -1000, I still think he will be the only player at that position to go in the first 32 picks. The next best running back on the board is Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who is projected by many draft experts to go late in the first round, but I am not buying it. Offensive and defensive linemen are always in high demand and this draft is extremely deep in wide receivers and quality defensive backs. Gordon would be a steal for any team that does draft him, but it will not be in the first round.