- The conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft necessitates new Super Bowl 53 odds.
- Which teams moved up the board and who’s trending down?
- Does the addition of Lamar Jackson make Baltimore a contender as early as 2018?
The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. The winners and losers won’t truly be known until the teams and their new crops of rookies take the field. But some teams certainly appear to have helped themselves a lot more than others.
Let’s take a look at the updated Super Bowl 53 futures after the draft, and then run through a few of the teams that helped their immediate chances and a few that sent themeselves in the wrong direction.
Looking at you, Seattle!
Super Bowl 53 Odds: Post-Draft Edition
- Philadelphia Eagles: 7/1
- New England Patriots: 15/2
- Minnesota Vikings: 12/1
- Green Bay Packers: 14/1
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 15/1
- Los Angeles Rams: 16/1
- New Orleans Saints: 20/1
- Atlanta Falcons: 22/1
- San Francisco 49ers: 24/1
- Houston Texans: 26/1
- Carolina Panthers: 28/1
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 29/1
- Los Angeles Chargers: 33/1
- Denver Broncos: 40/1
- Baltimore Ravens: 45/1
- Dallas Cowboys: 45/1
- Oakland Raiders: 50/1
- Seattle Seahawks: 50/1
- New York Giants: 55/1
- Indianapolis Colts: 60/1
- Tennessee Titans: 60/1
- Detroit Lions: 65/1
- Kansas City Chiefs: 65/1
- Miami Dolphins: 65/1
- Washington: 65/1
- Cincinnati Bengals: 70/1
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 70/1
- Chicago Bears: 75/1
- Cleveland Browns: 75/1
- Arizona Cardinals: 90/1
- Buffalo Bills: 90/1
- New York Jets: 100/1
Whose Super Bowl 53 Odds Got Better?
Pre-draft odds: 54/1
Post-draft odds: 45/1
Post-draft win total: 8.5
The Ravens have long paired a stingy defense (18.9 PPG, 6th in the NFL) with an anemic offense (305 YPG, 27th).
Their 2018 draft class gives hope that the situation will be remedied. Not only did they land two of the top-four tight ends (Hayden Hurst, South Carolina; Mark Andrews, Oklahoma), turning a position of extreme weakness into one of the most promising in the league, but they also acquired arguably the most dynamic player in this year’s draft: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson.
Add in OT Orlando Brown (Oklahoma), a player with first-round tape who fell because of his combine performance, and you have the makings of potentially a franchise-altering draft.
Just look at how Deshaun Watson was able to turn Houston’s pitiful attack into one of the most potent in the league. If he gets the chance to start, Jackson could do the same, and he will have more weapons to work with than Joe Flacco has been given these past few years.
Green Bay Packers
Pre-draft odds: 17/1
Post-draft odds: 14/1
Post-draft win total: 10.5
With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the Packers are not going to struggle to score points. That’s just a fact of life. In last year’s injury-shortened campaign, Rodgers led Green Bay to over 26 PPG in his six full games. But the defense, in particular the secondary, was torched on a routine basis (236.8 passing yards/game, 23rd), and Green Bay finished 26th in points allowed (24.0).
The team recognized where it was weakest and used its first two picks on corners: Jaire Alexander (Louisville, 18th overall) and Josh Jackson (Iowa, 45th overall). Jackson, in particular, was a steal at no. 45, often mocked late in the first round.
The Packer defense also has huge needs at pass rusher, but this draft was seriously lacking in that department, and Green Bay did the smart thing by not reaching for an edge rusher and, instead, loading up on veritable shutdown corners.
The addition of fourth-round WR J’Mon Moore (Missouri) should help ease the loss of Jordy Nelson, but let’s be honest: Rodgers can make any schlub look like a bona fide NFL receiver.
New York Giants
Pre-draft odds: 68/1
Post-draft odds: 55/1
Post-draft win total: 7.5
A lot of people do not like what the Giants did in the 2018 draft. By eschewing a QB in the first and second round, they have resigned themselves to Eli Manning for the foreseeable future.
Leaving aside the wisdom of that decision, the picks they did make have, unquestionably, given Manning a much better chance to succeed.
Saquon Barkley (no. 2 overall, Penn State) has been described as the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, and he will give New York a true bell-cow back for the first time since Tiki Barber.
Even the best running backs need a sliver of daylight at the line, of course, and the Giants (who finished last year averaging just 3.9 YPC) beefed up their offensive line with second-round guard Will Hernandez (UTEP, no. 34 overall), a player expected to come off the board on day one.
Both Barkley and Hernandez will pay immediate dividends for a team that’s clearly still in win-now mode. The return of Odell Beckham Jr. probably won’t hurt either.
Whose Super Bowl 53 Odds Got Worse?
Pre-draft odds: 40/1
Post-draft odds: 50/1
Post-draft win total: 8.5
The Seahawks running game has been trending down since the departure of Marshawn Lynch. The downward spiral culminated last year in 101.8 rushing yards per game and just four rushing touchdowns. The Eddie Lacy experiment was an abject failure, and the rest of the RB stable couldn’t stay healthy. But the bigger issue was the offensive line, which could neither pass protect nor run block.
Yet, instead of getting stronger in the trenches, the Seahawks used their first-round pick on a running back, and one that didn’t have a first-round grade on him: San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny.
Penny may turn out to be a phenomenal running back. He certainly has the measurables. But you can find satisfactory running backs in later rounds — especially this year. Seattle would have been much better served addressing other areas.
Their next pick didn’t come until the third round and, again, they forgot how bad their offensive line is, selecting DE Rasheem Green out of USC. They didn’t take an o-lineman until round five (Jamarco Jones, Ohio State).
It’s shaping up to be another long year for Russell Wilson behind these Swiss-cheese tackles.
Pre-draft odds: 38/1
Post-draft odds: 45/1
Post-draft win total: 9.5
Dez Bryant? Gone. Jason Witten? Gone. Free-agent receivers? Absent. So you’d think Dallas would make it a priority to find targets for young franchise pivot Dak Prescott, right?
Instead of getting a stud wideout or tight end early, the Cowboys took a(n admittedly really good) linebacker in Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State). Ok. Understandable. Sean Lee can’t stay healthy and Jaylen Smith has his own massive injury questions.
But using a second-round pick on the offensive line (OT Connor Williams, Texas), a unit that is already arguably the best in the league?? Puzzling indeed.
Dallas didn’t take a WR until Michael Gallup (Colorado State) in the third. That was decent value at that point — Gallup has a high ceiling — but there were safer avenues in the earlier rounds. Fourth-round tight end Dalton Schultz (Stanford) was a reach. He was barely a top-ten TE in a class that wasn’t great at the position.
Pre-draft odds: 11/1
Post-draft odds: 12/1
Post-draft win total: 9.5
To be fair to the Vikings, it would have been hard for them to fill a position of need in the early rounds. They don’t really have any. That being said, using another first-round pick (no. 30) on the secondary (CB Mike Hughes, UCF) was the height of luxury. He’ll join fellow first-rounder Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes in a secondary that ought to cover receivers more thoroughly than teenagers cover their faces with acne medication.
Taking Hughes in the first meant that a slew of o-linemen (arguably their biggest need) came off the board before Minny was back at the mic, to wit: Austin Corbett, James Daniels, and Connor Williams. That led to Mike Zimmer and company reaching on OT Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh, no. 62 overall). He’s likely not big enough to start right away, so Kirk Cousins may find his first season in Minnesota a scrambly one.