Over the next several weeks, more and more prop bets will be released by sportsbooks to give bettors action on the 2020 NFL Draft. People are already able to bet on how many players at certain positions will be selected in the first round, from individual schools or even head-to-head draft position props.
William Hill Sportsbook has set the over/under on how many defensive lineman will get drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft at 4.5. The over 4.5 is listed as the favorite at odds of -188 with the under listed at odds of +145.
What does history tell us?
Since 2010, a total of 72 defensive linemen have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. The most recent defensive lineman to be taken No. 1 overall was Myles Garrett, who the Browns selected with the first pick of the 2017 draft. Jadeveon Clowney, chosen by the Houston Texans back in 2014, is the only other player besides Garrett at the position to be selected with the first overall pick during that span.
Last year’s draft produced the most when a total of 10 defensive linemen were taken in the opening round. The oddsmakers project that we will see half as many taken in the first round this year. After Ohio State’s defensive end Chase Young, Auburn’s defensive tackle Derrick Brown is a near-consensus among all respected mock drafts to be the second defensive lineman taken in the top part of the first round.
Let’s take a deeper look at the prospects:
It appears to be a foregone conclusion that Young will be the second overall player off the board by Washington. The Ohio State standout was bestowed with the Chuck Bednarik, Ted Hendricks and Bronko Nagurski awards following his outstanding season. Brown and South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw are two dominant defensive tackles that both garnered All-SEC and AP All-American honors in 2019.
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State:
The defensive line is one place where first-round picks often make immediate impacts (see Nick Bosa). The star Buckeye had a stellar junior season that saw him lead the nation with 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and 21 tackles for loss in just 12 games. Barring a last-minute shock, Washington will grab the player who many draft experts have rated as the best overall prospect in the entire draft.
Betting Outlook: According to William Hill, Young is the prohibitive favorite (-300) to be selected by Washington in their ‘Second Overall Pick’ betting market. Unless Washington gets blown away with an offer they can’t refuse, Young is a blue-chip prospect too good to pass up.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn:
Brown is the prototypical NFL run-stuffer at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds that NFL scouts and GMs crave as cornerstones of their interior lines. Over his four-year career as a member of the Auburn Tigers he developed into a disruptive force, posting 33 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. After testing lower at the combine than many expected, some have begun to question how his athleticism will translate at the next level. On the other hand, some respected scouts view Brown as a better overall prospect than Ndamukong Suh, who went No. 2 overall back in the 2010 draft.
Betting Outlook: William Hill currently has Brown’s draft position listed with an over/under of 8.5. From all indications, many mock drafts have Brown either landing with Carolina at No. 7, Arizona at No. 8 or Jacksonville at No. 9. I don’t see Brown falling out of the top 10 at this point.
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina:
According to our SI South Carolina Gamecocks Maven, Chaunte'l Powell, Kinlaw has the raw tools and skill to develop into the best pass rusher in this year's draft. The standout arrived at South Carolina after spending his freshman season at Jones County Junior College in 2016. In three years with the Gamecocks, Kinlaw transformed into one of the best interior defensive linemen in the country. In 2019, his senior season, he posted six tackles for loss, six sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries. Kinlaw, like many athletes, has had plenty of adversity to overcome throughout his life. As a child, he and his family bounced around the Washington D.C. area, often landing in lodging devoid of running water or electricity. The NFL franchise that invests in Kinlaw will get a highly motivated player who will never take his opportunity to play in the NFL for granted. Although he will not be on the radar in fantasy football, Kinlaw is easily a player I will be rooting for every Sunday.
Betting Outlook: The oddsmakers at William Hill currently have Kinlaw’s draft position listed with an over/under of 13.5. If Derrick Brown comes off the board before the Jaguars pick at No. 9, I envision Kinlaw coming off the board to Jacksonville. A player as talented and big as Kinlaw makes perfect sense in the middle of a line that features two dominant edge rushers in Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen. The Falcons at No. 16 also are rumored to have interest.
A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa:
Espenesa was a five-star recruit who played early on for the Hawkeyes, totaling 4.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, and one forced fumble as a freshman. His production took a big jump in 2018 as the powerful and aggressive defensive end notched 10.5 sacks (most in Big 10), 16.5 tackles for loss (most on the team), and four forced fumbles. As a junior, Epenesa once again turned in a dominant season in the Big Ten. In 2019, Epenesa recorded 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles.
Betting Outlook: Nick Bogdanovich and his staff over at William Hill currently have Epenesa’s draft position listed with an over/under of 30.5, which just sneaks him into the end of the first round. According to our SI Jaguars Maven John Shipley, Epenesa compares favorably to players like Calais Campbell or Cameron Jordan, who he believes could be the Jaguars’ choice at No. 9 over Kinlaw. Other teams rumored to be interested in the former Iowa star are the Raiders, Patriots, Ravens and Vikings.
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State:
In his sophomore and junior seasons, the explosive defensive end posted 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. The 6-foot-5, 266-pound edge rusher would be the first Nittany Lion to be selected in the first round since Saquon Barkley went No. 2 overall in 2018. Prior to Gross-Matos' rise to stardom at Penn State, his life was filled with two unimaginable family tragedies involving the deaths of his father and brother. He is another player football fans will be rooting hard for at the next level no matter where your allegiance lies.
Betting Outlook: William Hill currently have Gross-Matos’ draft position listed with an over/under of 26.5, which projects him into the later portion of the first round. Many respected draft experts believe Gross-Matos could very well land with Seattle at pick No. 27. The Seahawks could lose star defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney to free agency and many experts believe the talented Nittany Lion would help fill that void.
Wildcards: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU / Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
Against The Odds:
Although the added juice of -188 seems intimidating, don’t let it scare you off. As we highlighted, defensive line is a position where first-round picks often make immediate impacts. The play here is easily on the over 4.5, as I project five if not six defensive lineman being selected in the first round.
MORE FROM SI GAMBLING: