NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently sent NFL teams a memo advising them that the 2020 NFL Draft will be held as scheduled. During a time when betting boards display limited options - that’s a good thing! Bookmakers are getting creative by posting a variety of prop options that are focused on the 85th annual draft that runs April 23-25.
Several teams, including Detroit, Arizona and Tampa Bay, will be aiming to improve their pass defense during the draft. Here is a breakdown of which safety prospects have a shot at being selected first overall. Xavier McKinney and Grant Delpit are top favorites at the William Hill sportsbook. Both players are projected as first round selections.
Xavier McKinney, Alabama (-188)
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney is top chalk with -188 odds at William Hill. McKinney will follow in the footsteps of former Crimson Tide safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Minkah Fitzpatrick who are both Pro Bowl players. Well-schooled and versatile, McKinney played safety and cornerback during three years at Alabama. Trained in the Nick Saban’s pro-style schemes - McKinney is an NFL-ready prospect. Dallas is a possible landing spot at 17th overall.
Grant Delpit, LSU (+130)
Right behind McKinney, LSU Tigers star Grant Delpit is second favorite to be the first safety selected. Delpit played three seasons at LSU and finished his career with eight interceptions, plus 120 solo tackles, over 40 games played. Following a breakout season in 2018, a high-ankle sprain slowed Delpit during his junior year. Known as a physical, hard-hitting defender, Delpit helped the Tigers defeat Clemson during the 2020 CFP National Championship game.
Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota (+1000)
Prices soar after the top favorites as Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is well back as the third favorite with +1000 odds. Following two injury-shortened seasons, Winfield improved his draft stock by posting seven interceptions and three sacks during his final year with the Golden Gophers. Winfield Jr. has good bloodlines as his father split time with Buffalo and Miami during 14 NFL seasons. Standing just 5’ 9” size is a factor for any team looking to draft Winfield.
Ashtyn Davis, Cal (+2200)
California Golden Bears speedster Ashtyn Davis rounds out the top four favorites with a +2200 price. A former track star, Davis won the 110-meter hurdles title during the 2017 Pac-12 Championships. Davis recorded seven interceptions and 102 solo tackles over 45 games during four seasons at Cal. Possibly hurting his draft stock, Davis had offseason surgery to deal with a hamstring issue. Since his pro-day was cancelled – teams can’t be sure is Davis is at full health.
Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne (+4000)
While it’s doubtful he will be the first overall safety selected, Kyle Dugger deserves credit just for making the list. Located in Hickory, North Carolina, Lenoir-Rhyne is a NCAA Division II school that plays in the South Atlantic Conference. The Bears don’t receive much coverage but Dugger caught the attention of scouts at the NFL combine. Big, fast and physical in pass coverage, Dugger also excelled as a kick returner and that will help his draft stock.
Julian Blackmon (+8000) moved from cornerback to safety during his senior year at Utah. Needing development, Blackmon will be selected in the third round or later. Antoine Brooks from Maryland and Jalen Elliott from Notre Dame are +10000 underdogs and are not worth a gamble.
LSU and Alabama have both produced NFL ready safeties recently. Versatility gives McKinney an edge over Delpit to be the first safety selected during the 2020 NFL Draft.
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