There might not be a worse omen in the NFL draft process than being the wide receiver projected to go off the board first.
No favorite has won since 2015 when the Raiders took Amari Cooper at No. 4. Since then, it's been a string of ringers.
|Year||Favorite||1st WR Taken|
|2016||Laquon Treadwell||Corey Coleman|
|2017||Mike Williams||Corey Davis|
|2018||Calvin Ridley||D.J. Moore|
|2019||D.K. Metcalf||Marquise Brown|
|2020||CeeDee Lamb||Henry Ruggs|
|Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)||-625|
|Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)||+600|
|DeVonta Smith (Alabama)||+700|
|Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)||+5000|
|Rondale Moore (Purdue)||+5000|
|Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU)||+5000|
|Kadarius Toney (Florida)||+8000|
|Tutu Atwell (Louisville)||+15000|
|Elijah Moore (Ole Miss)||+15000|
|Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC)||+25000|
|Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)||+25000|
|Nico Collins (Michigan)||+25000|
|D'Wayne Eskridge (Central Michigan)||+25000|
The last time we saw Chase in action, he went off for nine catches, 221 yards, and a pair of scores over Clemson to help LSU nab a national title. Chase's 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in 2019 both led the country. The 6-foot star sat out all of last season but still has a monster cushion over the rest of the field - his -625 odds imply an 86.2% win probability.
Frankly, everyone after Bateman is just filler, and we're only including the 50-1 long shot because he arguably has the highest ceiling and the ability to play both in and out of the slot.
That decision leaves us with a trio of SEC receivers and one player who deserves a flier.
Smith (+700) offers loads of value in a very random market that could change at the drop of a hat.
All he did was go off for 1,836 yards and 23 touchdowns en route to a Heisman trophy, much less on the most dominant program in the country.
The gap between Smith and Chase isn't as wide as the prices suggest, so getting this number on a player who's a fringe top-10 pick is a solid wager.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.