The process leading up to the NFL draft each is becoming more involved year after year. The build-up is long, and the discussion even longer, when it comes to various players who are eligible to have their name called as a selection in the NFL draft.
As for the 2023 NFL draft, the long and exhausting process is coming to a point where the end is in sight. With less than three weeks until the first night of the draft, the endless stream of mock drafts, positional rankings, and big boards will soon cease only to see the 2024 versions kick off hours later.
While the anticipation of new players being added to the Pittsburgh Steelers is exciting, being able to figure out who is a viable option is a whole different story. With the Steelers first pick scheduled to come at 17, mock drafts have gone in a variety of different directions and it seems that no two sources can agree on who the top five players are at various positions.
One source who makes a living in getting these things right, whether it be game outcomes, season results, or players chosen in the NFL draft, are the various oddsmakers. While having their finger on the pulse of how things will fall is one part of the equation, also having lines set an a way to create more action is a significant driving force behind the odds.
So what do oddsmakers have to say about the 2023 NFL draft?
I must first say that anyone who chooses to place a wager on any of the information given should do so responsibly. By listing the odds, this is an exercise in looking at another source to give an indication of how the draft might fall rather than an endorsement in placing a wager.
As I will continue to outline the various odds for the draft between now and the big night, I will start off this time looking at the matchups of which player gets drafted first in the NFL draft. In the odds given by DraftKings, there are some intriguing draft matchups. Trying to keep this as relevant as possible for the Pittsburgh Steelers, I will highlight four draft matchups looking at which player will be selected first that may give some added information to what could be available for the Steelers at pick 17 or 32.
For those who are not familiar with betting odds, the numbers given are based on $100. A line of -110 means it would take a $110 wager to have an earning of $100. Lines that have a positive number reflect how much one would receive for a $100 bet. So a line of +140 would pay out $140 above the original $100 wager.
(To summarize the previous paragraph, negative numbers mean more likely and positive numbers mean less likely.)
Peter Skoronski (-120) or Paris Johnson Jr. (-120)
With offensive line, particularly offensive tackle, being a possibility for the Steelers drafting and pick 17, it is intriguing that the oddsmakers at DraftKings have Peter Skoronski and Parris Johnson in a dead-even race as to who will be the first lineman selected. Based on these odds, one might conclude that these will likely be the first two linemen off the board. With evaluations for Skoronski all over the place, the fact that oddsmakers have him possibly being the first lineman selected is telling. Additionally, it’s also interesting that Broderick Jones was not the choice for who would possibly go before Paris Johnson.
Devon Witherspoon (-150) or Christian Gonzalez (+110)
With cornerback being the other big possibility for the Steelers at 17, it’s interesting how oddsmakers have Devon Witherspoon moving up the rankings to be the favorite as the first cornerback selected. While many have Christian Gonzalez as the likely player to be drafted first at the cornerback position, it appears Witherspoon has gained the ground necessary to be the guy. Knowing that these players are expected to be one of the first to go, it will be interesting how many CBs are selected before the Steelers get their opportunity to make a pick.
Jack Cambell (-120) or Drew Sanders (-110)
While some Steelers fan think this position could be in play at 17, nothing about these odds says at what point in the draft these players would be taken. But according to DraftKings, Jack Campbell holds a slight edge to come off the board before Drew Sanders.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (-450) or Jordan Addison (+340)
Because there is a group of fans who think wide receiver is the best way for the Steelers to go early in the draft, it makes sense to at least cover what could happen with the position. Based on the odds, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a huge favorite to be the first wide receiver selected. Depending on how other NFL teams are judging the position in this year‘s draft, maybe Kenny Pickett will get his wish and get his former Pitt teammate back in Pittsburgh.
So those are the odds when it comes to which one of two players at a given position are expected to be drafted first in the 2023 NFL draft. Do any of these numbers help get a better picture of how things might play out for the Steelers? Are there any specific odds that jump off the page that you didn’t expect? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.