NFL Draft 2023: Best Bets to Make After the Combine

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Quarterback Anthony Richardson of Florida participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2023. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

NFL Pick: First Wide Receiver Drafted – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (+110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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First Wide Receiver Drafted – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (+110)
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The 2023 NFL Combine is in the books, the No. 1 pick has been traded from Chicago to Carolina, and free agency is underway. With so much going on in the league, we still have our eyes set on the NFL Draft 2023 in late April. 

You can find a variety of betting markets at the top-rated sportsbooks for the draft, including which round certain players will go, the first defensive player drafted, the first wide receiver off the board, and if certain players will be drafted at all in the seven rounds. 

We have some of our current favorite NFL picks to make for these 2023 draft props. 

First Wide Receiver Drafted 

  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State (+110) 
  • Quentin Johnston, TCU (+225) 
  • Zay Flowers, Boston College (+500) 
  • Jordan Addison, USC (+600) 
  • Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee (+700) 

There is competition here as it is not a runaway like in 2021 when Ja’Marr Chase had -1000 odds to be the first wide receiver off the board, which he was with the No. 5 pick. But in 2022, Garrett Wilson (+100) had the best odds followed by Jameson Williams (+200), Drake London (+200), and Chris Olave (+1400). 

The actual draft order ended up being No. 8 Drake London (Falcons), No. 10 Garrett Wilson (Jets), No. 11 Chris Olave (Saints), and No. 12 Jameson Williams (Lions). So, all four players finished in a different drafted order than the oddsmakers had it, and all four were chosen in a span of five picks. 

Could we see a similar run this year since none of these prospects are the slam-dunk types like Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Julio Jones? We may, and one of the easiest ways to handicap this market is to look at the current draft order: 

  1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago): Quarterback for sure 
  2. Houston Texans: Quarterback for sure 
  3. Arizona Cardinals: Pick is open to be traded 
  4. Indianapolis Colts: High possibility for quarterback 
  5. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): Already have two good wideouts 
  6. Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams): Already invested in WR 
  7. Las Vegas Raiders: Need defense more than another WR (Davante Adams) 
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Just drafted TE and WR in back-to-back years in Round 1 
  9. Chicago Bears (from Carolina): This must be the place? 

The Bears could certainly rest on their laurels after adding D.J. Moore in the Carolina trade for the No.1 pick, and they could seek help for Justin Fields later in the draft. But this feels like the first pick where a wide receiver is a 50% or better proposition. 

This might also be the reason why Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the odds-on favorite because he played with Fields at Ohio State. But that is not a strong argument for it when he had 49 yards and a touchdown in that 2020 season. It was in 2021 with C.J. Stroud at quarterback when Smith-Njigba exploded with 1,606 yards and 9 touchdowns. 

If the Bears opt for defense or offensive line, a very real possibility, then do not be surprised if Houston gives its new quarterback a weapon at No. 12, or if the Patriots finally bite the bullet and take a wide receiver with the No. 14 pick. 

I would not count on Houston reuniting with another Texas player in TCU’s Quentin Johnston. He has the ideal size at 6’4”, but he had just 1 catch for 3 yards against Georgia in the title game and he did not produce a dominant season like Smith-Njigba did in 2021. We will side with the chalk and roll with Smith-Njigba as the first wide receiver drafted. 

NFL Pick: First Wide Receiver Drafted – Jaxon Smith-Njigba (+110) at BetOnline

First Defensive Player Drafted 

  • Will Anderson, Alabama (-250) 
  • Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech (+350) 
  • Jalen Carter, Georgia (+500) 

Again, going back to our draft order at the top, there is a logical fit for Alabama’s Will Anderson to slide right in as edge rusher and replace the retired J.J. Watt in Arizona with the No. 3 pick. That is if the Cardinals do not trade the pick as we could see four quarterbacks go at the top if someone like Washington or Tampa Bay wants to jump ahead of Indianapolis at No. 4. 

Anderson has long been hyped as the top defender in this draft class. Crazier things have happened. Travon Walker was really a late surge in the process last year on his way to becoming the No. 1 overall pick by Jacksonville ahead of Aiden Hutchinson, Derek Stingley Jr., Sauce Gardner, and Kayvon Thibodeaux as the top five picks were all defense last year. 

This looks like a draft that will be much more offensive at the top, but if Arizona does not go for Anderson, then Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson could be a choice for Pete Carroll and Seattle at No. 5. Anderson is better suited for a 3-4 defense, which is not what Seattle runs. 

Betting a lot on chalk picks with -250 odds is not usually advisable, so if you wanted a value pick out of this market, go with Tyree Wilson as the upset choice for the first defender.  

NFL Pick: First Defender Drafted – Tyree Wilson (+350) at BetOnline

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First Defender Drafted – Tyree Wilson (+350)
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Team to Draft Anthony Richardson? 

  • Colts (+275) 
  • Panthers (+400) 
  • Seahawks (+450) 
  • Falcons (+750) 
  • Texans (+800) 
  • Raiders (+1000) 

Not that long ago in this process, it was a battle at the top between Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud with Will Levis in a more distant third. But Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson continues to rise after leading all quarterbacks with a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine. 

With the Colts hiring Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as the head coach, this Richardson pick becomes a real logical fit as he has worked with the raw talent and mobility of Justin Herbert and Justin Fields in the last few years.

Richardson is a young, inexperienced talent who could learn and grow in Steichen’s offense, and his ceiling should be higher than that of Levis assuming the Colts are blocked out of choosing between Stroud or Young in the top two picks. 

Looking at these odds, it just seems far too out of the left field for Carolina to aggressively trade up from No. 9 to No. 1 to take more of a project like Richardson when the more polished Young and Stroud are there. The Seahawks also just paid Geno Smith, the Texans are unlikely to be interested in Richardson with their choice of a top-two quarterback here, and the Raiders just added Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The Falcons would be a very interesting spot, but we have to believe the team has some hope in Desmond Ridder. That would be a sneaky good pick for this, but the Colts (+275) are the best choice and maybe even the best spot for Richardson to land if he is going to be a success. Steichen can help bring him along as he did with Hurts in Philadelphia. 

NFL Pick: Colts to Draft Anthony Richardson (+275) at the Top-Rated Sportsbooks

Will Georgia QB Stetson Bennett Be Drafted? 

  • 1st Round (+10000) 
  • 2nd Round (+2500) 
  • 3rd Round (+1100) 
  • 4th Round (+700) 
  • 5th Round (+325) 
  • 6th Round (+240) 
  • 7th Round (+260) 
  • Not Drafted (+360) 

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett no doubt had a stellar college career with back-to-back national championships, and he averaged 9.1 yards per pass attempt with 66 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. But successful championship quarterbacks do not necessarily translate to successful NFL pros, and Bennett has two big knocks against him that he cannot change. He is 5’11” and will turn 26 years old in October. 

Between Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, the NFL has been kinder to shorter quarterbacks in the last decade, though someone 6’5” is still the ideal prototype for many. But age is an even bigger issue as quarterbacks this old simply do not get drafted that often in the NFL.  

In the common draft era (1967-present), only three quarterbacks were drafted in their age-26 or older season:  

  • 2001: Chris Weinke (29 years old), 4th round, No. 106 overall by Carolina 
  • 2007: John Beck (26 years old), 2nd round, No. 40 overall by Miami 
  • 2012: Brandon Weeden (28 years old), 1st round, No. 22 overall by Cleveland 

Those were three busts. Bennett does have a pedigree for success, but Georgia was such a loaded roster. He ran a respectable 4.67 40-yard dash at the combine, but his small frame is not going to wow the scouts in most NFL circles. 

However, the top-rated sportsbooks also have odds of Bennett being drafted at all at -500 and +360 to go undrafted, so it does seem more than likely that someone will take a late-round chance on him as you just never know with this position. 

The 6th round (+240) presents the best odds and is famous for being Tom Brady’s round, but I think with so many teams settling on their backup quarterbacks already, the 7th round (+260) is the most likely destination for the quarterback with the name that sounds like a cologne ad.  

NFL Pick: Stetson Bennett Drafted in 7th Round (+260) at the Top-Rated Sportsbooks

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.