NFL Draft Pick Puts New Talent In The Limelight

Written By Darren Cooper on March 2, 2022 - Last Updated on May 26, 2022
Jaguars Are First Pick For This Year's NFL Draft!

The Jacksonville Jaguars are officially on the clock. The Jaguars have the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, looking to become a contender again in the AFC South under new coach Doug Pederson, who won Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s the second year in a row the Jaguars have had the top pick. The Miami Dolphins have the 29th pick in the first round, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pick 27th.

Florida remains in the process of changing its online sports betting legislation, meaning we could see online sportsbooks coming soon.

Here’s a look at the upcoming NFL Draft and the odds on the first pick.

When is the NFL Draft?

The NFL has turned the Draft, or “Annual Selection Meeting,” into a three-day televised extravaganza.

This year the draft will take place at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, starting with the first round at 8 pm on Thursday, April 28. That will be followed by rounds 2-3 on Friday, April 29. The final four rounds of the draft will begin at noon on Saturday, April 30. It’s all broadcast on ESPN, ABC, and the NFL Network.

Who has odds on the first pick?

The DraftKings mobile betting app has posted odds on 24 college prospects to be the No. 1 pick taken. Caesars lists 30. The Jaguars own the first selection but could always trade it away. A quarterback has been chosen first four years in a row.

A closer look at the favorites

Evan Neal

Neal is currently +120 at DraftKings, and +150 at Caesars. As a 6-foot-7, 350-pound offensive tackle from Alabama, that’s not hard to imagine! He has shot up the draft boards and is the favorite to be taken first.

He’s a Florida native who played at IMG Academy. He could help the Jaguars protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence. An offensive lineman hasn’t been chosen first since 2013.

Aidan Hutchinson

The Michigan defensive end came back from a broken ankle as a junior to have a monster senior season with 14 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. He’s 6-foot-6, a prototypical edge rusher for today’s NFL, and currently +200 at DraftKings and Caesars.

Ikem Ekwonu

Nicknamed the “Pancake King” as an offensive lineman at North Carolina State for his flattening blocks. Ekwonu (currently +700 at DraftKings, +800 at Caesars) was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, given to college football’s best lineman.

Kayvon Thibodeaux

Another stud edge rusher out of Oregon University, he missed some time this season with an injury. In 10 games, he supplied 49 tackles and seven sacks. NFL scouts have been drooling over him for years. Kayvon is coming in at +500 at Caesars and +700 at DraftKings.

Malik Willis

You knew a quarterback was coming, right? Willis (who’s now sitting at +3,500 at DraftKings) won’t be a Jaguar. They are set there, but someone may want to trade up for him.

Think of Willis as a Lamar Jackson clone. He had back-to-back seasons throwing for more than 2,000 yards and rushing for almost 1,000.

Charles Cross

Another mammoth offensive lineman, Cross (+3000 at Caesars) went to Mississippi State and started 12 games at left tackle for the Bulldogs. He gave up just two sacks in 919 snaps.

What will the Jaguars do in the NFL Draft?

Let’s face it: The Jaguars need an influx of talent at multiple positions. They are probably hoping someone lower in the draft order falls in love with Willis or Thibodeaux and is compelled to send premium assets in exchange for the top pick.

But if the Jaguars keep the pick, getting an offensive lineman who can protect Lawrence for the next 10 years and help running back James Robinson is a safe, sure bet.

What about the Dolphins and Buccaneers?

Tampa Bay has to be thinking about acquiring a young quarterback now that Tom Brady has retired. They may have to trade up to get one, though. Matt Corral from Ole Miss and Sam Howell from North Carolina are considered the most pro-ready quarterbacks in the draft.

The Dolphins have a new coach in Mike McDaniel but are in pretty good shape roster-wise. They were 9-8 last season. Look for them to try to find a playmaker on offense to pair with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Complete first Round NFL Draft order

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Detroit Lions
3. Houston Texans
4. New York Jets
5. New York Giants
6. Carolina Panthers
7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Denver Broncos
10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
11. Washington Commanders
12. Minnesota Vikings
13. Cleveland Browns
14. Baltimore Ravens
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins)
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis Colts)
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. New Orleans Saints
19. Philadelphia Eagles
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. New England Patriots
22. Las Vegas Raiders
23. Arizona Cardinals
24. Dallas Cowboys
25. Buffalo Bills
26. Tennessee Titans
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28. Green Bay Packers
29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco 49ers)
30. Kansas City Chiefs
31. Cincinnati Bengals
32. Detroit Lions

Top Five NFL Draft picks from past years

  • 2021 Draft: 1. Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville), QB; 2. Zach Wilson (Jets), QB; 3. Trey Lance (49ers), QB; 4. Kyle Pitts (Atlanta), TE; 5. Ja’Marr Chase, (Cincinnati) WR
  • 2020 Draft: 1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati), QB; 2. Chase Young (Washington), DE; 3. Jeff Okudah (Detroit), CB; 4. Andrew Thomas (Giants), OL; 5. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami), QB
  • 2019 Draft: 1. Kyler Murray (Arizona), QB; 2. Nick Bosa (49ers), DE; 3. Quinnen Williams (Jets), DT; 4. Clelin Ferrell (Raiders), DE; 5. Devin White (Tampa Bay), LB
  • 2018 Draft: 1. Baker Mayfield (Cleveland), QB; 2. Saquon Barkley (Giants), RB; 3. Sam Darnold (Jets), QB; 4. Denzel Ward (Cleveland), DB; 5. Bradley Chubb (Broncos), DE
  • 2017 Draft: 1. Myles Garrett (Cleveland), DE; 2. Mitch Trubisky (Chicago), QB; 3. Solomon Thomas (49ers), DE; 4. Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville), RB; 5. Corey Davis (Tennessee), WR
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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