You can already wager on who'll be the first pick of the 2022 NFL draft

·3 min read

You can spend your money in many ways, some more foolish than others.

For instance, wagering on who the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft will be — more than 11 months from it happening — feels a bit half-witted. 

Then again, you certainly would have gotten better odds on Trevor Lawrence landing in that spot had you wagered on it this time one year ago rather than waiting until closer to the draft. By draft day, the odds for Lawrence going first were -10000.

So perhaps this early window for 2022 is a great opportunity in disguise.

BetMGM is already offering odds on the top pick in the 2022 NFL draft, and all but 14 players are listed as shorter than odds of +4000. That's the good news.

The bad? Next year's class is a bit fuzzier at the top right now than the 2021 NFL draft crop was one year ago.

Lawrence was the heavy favorite to go first a year ago. He ended up going first. People who bet that have to be happy. But Lawrence was as high as -250 to go first overall as early as April, so we can't imagine there was a flood of action on that bet.

This year, there is no Lawrence-caliber prospect — yet. But there is a slew of talented quarterbacks who might be in the mix for the first overall pick.

Interestingly, the lowest odds for going first overall in 2022 belong to a pass rusher. Oregon EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux is probably the closest thing we have right now to a top-three lock, and he's listed +250 to go first. It's an interesting possibility. 

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Oregon (5) Kayvon Thibodeaux (DE) celebrates after a college football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Stanford Cardinal on September 21, 2019, at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux celebrates after a game between the Oregon Ducks and the Stanford Cardinal on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

But we still think a quarterback could end up in the top slot, especially considering teams such as the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions could very much be in the mix for high selections.

Which quarterbacks might be the best bet?

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler is the lowest-odds favorite among the quarterbacks at +300. He's followed closely by other quarterbacks: UNC's Sam Howell (+400), USC's Kedon Slovis (+800), Liberty's Malik Willis and Georgia's JT Daniels (both +1400). 

Rattler, Howell, Slovis and even Daniels are big-school prospects and relatively well-known names, even among casual college football fans. Of the four, Rattler has the most buzz right now, we'd guess. He's a Zach Wilson-meets-Patrick Mahomes type of gunslinger, although he was a bit hot and cold last season.

Willis certainly is another name to file away, however. He's coming off a terrific season (20-6 TD-INT ratio, 944 rushing yards and 14 more TDs) and fits the mold of the toolsy, dual-threat QB teams are seeking these days. 

But Willis would buck history in a big way if he was in play for a high pick, with only two Flames players having cracked the top 100 overall picks in league history — and none since 1990. That was the year the only Liberty player — former Steelers Pro Bowl TE Eric Green — ever landed in Round 1, going 20th overall.

If there's a deeper QB play we like as a long shot, why not throw a few ducats on Nevada QB Carson Strong? At +4000, it feels worth the risk. Strong isn't yet as highly regarded as Rattler and others but is coming off a Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year season in 2020, throwing for 27 TDs and four picks and averaging 317.5 pass yards per game.

With a slew of weapons back and another shot at a conference title, along with a worthy schedule with road games against Cal, Kansas State and Boise State, Strong might end up experiencing a Joe Burrow-esque rise up draft boards starting in the fall.

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