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The NFL Draft always has an impact on how positive or pessimistic fans are about their teams for the upcoming season. Snatching a player that was highly valued or a stud that unexpectedly dropped down the board, can raise expectations within the organization.
Sometimes, a draft pick or group of picks can be considered the difference between a team making the playoffs and going home for the offseason. In some cases, the addition of a high caliber performer can elevate a team’s Super Bowl odds dramatically.
This is before any of these players even step on an NFL field.
No better indication of how the NFL community feels about a particular team’s draft than the Super Bowl odds in Vegas following the three-day virtual extravaganza.
In January, according to SBD’s Super Bowl 55 odds, the Chiefs were listed as the favorites. After winning Super Bowl 54, the Chiefs’ Super Bowl 55 odds shortened from +700 to +550 and currently sit at +650, holding a slight edge over the Baltimore Ravens at +700 and the SB 44 runner up San Francisco 49ers. (+900).
The Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers are all considered huge winners in this year’s Draft by NFL analysts and media experts. The Cowboys, Rams, and 49ers also saw the biggest improvements in Super Bowl odds after the 2020 NFL Draft, while the Raiders and Titans saw the biggest dip.
Cowboys Draft Up
The Cowboys, who went 8-8 in 2019 nabbed Alabama wide receiver Ceedee Lamb, widely considered the best of a plentiful receiver pool that saw 36 of then drafted in total.
The Cowboys followed that pick with two more productive days. Cornerback Trevon Diggs and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore were valued higher than they were selected. Edge rusher Bradlee Anae and center Tyler Biadasz are expected to contribute right away.
Ravens Cup Runneth Over
The Ravens couldn’t get much better after going 14-2, but by all accounts they did.
After losing linebackers Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes in free agency, Baltimore nabbed rangy LSU linebacker Patrick Queen with their first pick (28th overall).
Third-round pick Justin Madubuike, a defensive tackle from Texas A&M, was projected to go in the second round, but he instead fell to Baltimore at pick No 71.
Sportsbooks believe the Ravens will only build off their great year in 2019, opening as a top three SB contender.
49ers Ship Em’ Out, Ship Em’ In
The 49ers, who fell in the Super Bowl to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Cheifs last season, got younger and better through the Draft while creating more salary-cap space.
The losses of DL DeForest Buckner, WR Emmanuel Sanders and future Hall of Fame OL Joe Staley were directly addressed with first-round picks Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk who will immediately fill those voids.
The recent trade for All-Pro offensive tackle Trent Williams, eases the loss of Staley tremendously.
Don’t Sleep On The Rams
The Rams are sticking with the philosophy that Sean McVay is an offensive genius and they can outscore any team in the league,
The defense led by Aaron Donald will be better next season, even without large scale defensive additions. The offense which sputtered in the Super Bowl two seasons ago was revamped without a first-round pick.
Injury-plagued Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks are gone, so they nabbed running back Cam Akers, wide receiver Van Jefferson and tight end Brycen Hopkins from Purdue.
This Rams’ draft ended up being a lot better than it looked like it would be back in January when the team had just five picks LA ended up taking nine players thanks to some trade maneuvers.
Put Your Bread On Brady
The Tampa Bay Bucs were already on the upswing after signing Tom Brady and Gronk, and have seen their odds shorten to +1100. In late March they became a top-five Super Bowl contender after signing Brady to a contract and getting rid of Jameis Winston.
Drafting, like betting, is an imperfect science, but when it comes to sports it’s all about the numbers. And while we don’t solely rely on them, they do tell us a lot.