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If you check the NFL draft boards this week, you'll notice some eye-catching movement at the top: Tua Tagovailoa is no longer the consensus No. 1 pick. Instead, some members of the draft intelligentsia - namely those at CBS Sports and Pro Football Focus, two major publications for draft coverage - have Joe Burrow atop their mocks amid his breakout campaign at LSU.
Tagovailoa lost his grip on the first pick in past weeks when some slipped Justin Herbert into the top spot, but those felt more like trial runs than a real shift. But with Burrow's incredible play as of late, this seems like a reaction to the season more than off-hand speculation.
Is Burrow an early value play for the top pick? What about Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young? Does Tagovailoa still offer value up top? Here are the updated odds for who will go No. 1 in the 2020 NFL Draft with a breakdown of the top contenders:
Tagovailoa entered this year as the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 and has been nothing short of sensational through seven games. He's thrown for 2,166 yards and 27 touchdowns to lead No. 1 ranked Alabama to a perfect 7-0 start. He's still the favorite now, though his price has lengthened from what you had to pay in the summer.
The signal-caller is expected to miss some time with a high ankle sprain, so his odds may become more favorable as other quarterbacks continue to shine. Take advantage. This isn't a fantasy league in which two weeks on the bench can dramatically swing a player's value. NFL teams have considered Tagovailoa a special talent for years now, and it would take something drastic - not just a minor injury or gaudy numbers from Burrow - to change that. At short odds, he's a slam dunk.
Burrow has been magnificent in coordinator Joe Brady's attack, as he leads the nation in completion percentage (79.4%) and is tied for the lead in touchdowns (29). College stats only go so far, though, and it's at least mildly concerning that Burrow was mostly off the radar before starring in Brady's offense.
Quarterbacks can go from second-day choices to No. 1 picks; it's happened in each of the last two drafts. But neither of those classes had a QB prospect like Tagovailoa, and it took strong combine efforts and interviews to vault those players to the top. Betting Burrow is too speculative - and risky - to lay short odds. Pass for now.
Before Burrow, Herbert was the guy who draftniks wanted to pit against Tagovailoa. And he's still got a shot at the top. He hasn't put up the type of numbers that scream "No. 1 pick" in Oregon's run-first offense, but he didn't last year, either, when many said he'd be a top-five selection should he come out as a junior.
Instead, Herbert is the classic "toolsy" quarterback. At 6-foot-6, he's mobile with an impressive arm and a knack for fitting the ball into tight windows. The NFL is still enamored with on-paper fits at the quarterback position, and Herbert is this year's quintessential version of that. These odds feel a bit short, but it could be worth getting ahead of the inevitable draft rise.
This is the sharp play on the board, as Young is widely considered the best non-QB in this class and one of the most dominant pass-rushers in years. If teams opt against taking a signal-caller at the top, it's usually for an edge rusher or a left tackle, so Young is a savvy play for bettors expecting a QB-confident team to earn the No. 1 pick.
There are two problems with that: the two worst teams in the NFL both need a quarterback, and other teams would be wise to trade the No. 1 pick to a team that does. Still, if the Falcons or Jets keep losing, Young would look a lot more appealing than 14-1.
The best value on the board - outside of Tagovailoa - might be Eason, who looked superb against Oregon and has shown flashes of brilliance in his winding college career. He signed with Georgia as the nation's No. 5 player and top-ranked pro-style QB in 2016, so he has the pedigree and natural arm talent to turn heads with a strong pro day and interviews.
Is he better than Tagovailoa, Burrow, or former teammate Jake Fromm, who took his job in Athens? Probably not. But we're talking 50-1 odds here, and there's better than a 50-1 chance that Eason wows somebody in the Bengals' or Dolphins' front office and shocks the draft community in April.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.