2022 NFL Draft Props: Quarterbacks and Offensive Line

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2022 NFL Draft Props: Quarterbacks and Offensive Line

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been itching for some betting opportunities on NFL events since Super Bowl LVI concluded with the Rams beating the Bengals two months ago. The NFL Draft is quickly approaching on April 28-30, which is our one chance to bet on an actual NFL event before preseason action gets going in August.

Unfortunately, most states, including my home state of Pennsylvania, don’t allow betting on the draft since it’s not an actual sporting competition. I may be making a trip to states like New Jersey or West Virginia, which allow wagers on NFL Draft props. Hopefully, you live in or near one of the states that are allowed to offer betting lines on this year’s draft or you have access to an off-shore account.

Since I don’t have access to draft lines in Pennsylvania, I’ll be using lines that are being offered in New Jersey and at off-shore sportsbooks for the purposes of this article. If you can, make sure to shop around for the best lines and odds if possible. You’re going to see more volatility between sportsbooks with an event like the draft than you’ll see on game lines during the season.

I plan on updating these NFL Draft Prop articles and my Best Bets multiple times before the end of April so check back throughout the month.

Note: We’re thrilled to offer Greg Cosell’s rookie profiles once again as part of our 2022 NFL Prospect Guide. I’ve included a small piece of his analysis for each player listed below. Be sure to subscribe to our guide to get his complete analysis for over 100+ players.

Article updates since initial April 11 posting

  • Sam Howell writeup and Best Bet added on April 26.

  • Charles Cross Draft Prop to Consider updated and Best Bet added on April 25.

  • Evan Neal Draft Prop to Consider updated and Best Bet added on April 13.

  • Ikem Ekwonu Draft Prop to Consider updated on April 13.

Quarterbacks

Kenny Pickett, Pitt

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): 18th overall (Saints), QB1

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Sixth overall (Panthers), QB1

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Sixth overall (Panthers), QB1

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): Sixth overall (Panthers), QB1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Pickett has an overall skill set and traits profile that projects and transitions well to the NFL QB position with his desirable combination of pocket efficiency and second-reaction movement. He has good size and played with a physical and mental toughness and competitiveness that consistently stood out. Pickett was efficient from the pocket with a profile that is demanded at the NFL level: he showed vision, progression reading (with full field reading concepts), timing, anticipation, and precise ball placement, plus the athleticism and mobility to be a second reaction playmaker; Pickett can be highly effective as an executor and ball distributor, and that's where his game starts.

Draft Props to Consider

Kenny Pickett to be the first QB selected (+225, FOXBet, placed on April 6) and to be selected by the Carolina Panthers (+175, FOXBet, placed on April 6) — I’m following The Guru’s lead and projecting the Panthers to draft Pickett with the sixth overall pick. HC Matt Rhule is in desperation mode entering a make-or-break third season, and I have a tough time believing the Panthers will go into another campaign with Sam Darnold as the top quarterback option on their roster. The Panthers whiffed on their previous attempts at landing a quarterback this off-season, and they’d likely be stuck with Darnold as their starter if they pass on Pickett at No. 6 since they don’t pick again until 137th overall. Malik Willis might have the highest ceiling in this year’s quarterback class because of his physical tools, but he’s going to face a steep learning curve similar to the one Trey Lance faced last season (per our Greg Cosell). Pickett should be ready to play from Day 1, and it doesn’t hurt that he has a relationship with Rhule that dates back to the mid-2010s. Pickett initially committed to play at Temple before bigger schools like Pitt came calling during his senior season in high school in New Jersey. At NFL Mock Draft Database, Pickett is the consensus sixth pick to the Panthers at around 37%.

Malik Willis, Liberty

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Not selected in the first round

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 20th overall (Steelers), QB2

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (March 8): Eighth overall (Falcons), QB2

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 20th overall (Steelers), QB2

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Willis begins as an arm-strength and athletic dual-threat playmaking QB with a relatively steep learning curve as it relates to the NFL pass-game concepts and the reading progressions versus specific coverages that define the throws from those concepts and combinations…One thing that did stand out on film was Willis' ability to make special second-reaction throws and runs, and that trait has become seen by some as a necessity in today's NFL. It will be fascinating to see what team drafts Willis and how they structure their offense given the running dimension he provides. Willis comes into the NFL as a better pure thrower of the football than Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts. Some could see and evaluate Willis similarly to Trey Lance coming out of NDSU given his skill set and traits, but Lance is a much bigger man and played in a more detailed college offense. It's raw talent versus refinement/nuance/discipline — that's the paradigm.

Draft Props to Consider

Team to draft Malik Willis: Pittsburgh Steelers (+350, FanDuel) — It’s tough to get a firm grasp on where Willis will land with the Draft quickly approaching. He could be selected as early No. 2 overall by the Lions — he’s the fourth favorite to go in that spot at +500 — and he’ll fall as far as No. 20 overall to the Steelers. The Falcons (No. 8), Seahawks (No. 9), Commanders (No. 11), and Saints (No. 16 and 19) are also potentially in the mix to select Willis between the second and 20th selections. HC Mike Tomlin and the Steelers’ front office haven’t been shy about their infatuation with the toolsy Liberty quarterback, and Pittsburgh brought in Mitch Trubisky this off-season so they could bring Willis along at his own pace if they drafted him. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Steelers move up from 20th overall if Willis drifts into the double-digit picks much like how the Bears moved up from No. 20 to No. 11 last year to select Justin Fields.

Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Not selected in the first round

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): 32nd overall (Seahawks), QB3

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 40th overall (Seahawks), QB4

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 40th overall (Seahawks), QB4

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Corral is a shorter than ideally desired, small-frame QB whose 2020 and 2021 tape showed a twitchy athlete with a plus arm with the ability to effectively work all three levels of the defense, in addition to an active, mobile player who brought a playmaking dimension with his second-reaction running ability…What Corral needs to learn are full-field progression concepts that you can incorporate and integrate with the spread RPO and play action elements that he is most familiar and most comfortable with. His development at the next level will be a function of how quickly he can learn how to read it out from the pocket and how fast he can see it on pro pass game concepts.

Draft Props to Consider

Total quarterbacks drafted in the first round: Over 2.5 (-198, FanDuel) — Our Greg Cosell recently told Peter King, “You can make the argument that every year there are two drafts: the quarterback draft, and the draft for the rest of the players. This year’s no different. It would not surprise me if we saw five quarterbacks go in the first round.” I, personally, highly doubt we will see five quarterbacks selected on Day 1 of the Draft, but I’m easily leaning toward over 2.5 QBs in the first round. Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are virtual locks to be selected in the first round with both of their expected draft positions sitting around 11th overall (per Grinding the Mocks). The third quarterback selected in the first round is much more difficult to nail down, but Corral (30th), Desmond Ridder (37th), and Sam Howell (48th) are each in the mix to be picked on Day 1 of the Draft. The Steelers are candidates to select either of those three quarterbacks if they miss out on Willis and Pickett, and the Lions have been a popular destination for a quarterback at 32nd overall since they’d eventually have the chance to pick up the fifth-year option on the young QB. I don’t love laying essentially two units to win one unit but this is one I seriously considered doing.

Sam Howell, North Carolina

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): N/A
  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): N/A
  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): 47th overall (Commanders), QB5
  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 48th overall (Falcons), QB5

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Howell is shorter than you ideally want, but he is solidly and compactly built with a strong frame and high level competitiveness. There is no question he possesses NFL traits with a strong arm that can drive the ball at the intermediate and deeper levels, and a running dimension that gives an offense both the designed QB run game and second-reaction movement plays. He was almost exclusively a pre-determined thrower in North Carolina's pass game and the issue with Howell is that he is not a naturally comfortable pocket QB with a refined sense of timing and rhythm within the structure of a detailed passing game…Howell cannot play in the NFL the same way he played at North Carolina with the strong emphasis on designed QB runs. He will need to develop and mature as a pocket QB to have any viable chance for meaningful success.

Draft Props to Consider

Sam Howell over 42.5 draft position (-114, FanDuel) — Howell is the consensus fifth quarterback in this year’s weak quarterback class, and he’s a distant fifth at that with +4000 odds to be the first quarterback selected at Bovada. Matt Corral has the next longest odds at +1800 so there’s quite the gap between Howell and Malik Willis/Kenny Pickett/Desmond Ridder/Corral. At Grinding the Mocks, Howell’s draft stock has been on the rise a bit in the last week but he still owns an expected draft position at 47.4. Quarterbacks aren’t expected to be flying off the board with under 3.5 QBs selected in the first round sitting at -340 odds. The Lions (No. 34), Seahawks (No. 40 and 41), and Colts (No. 42) are the major bullets to avoid for Howell’s landing spot in the early second round before pick No. 43.

Offensive Linemen

Evan Neal, Alabama

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Sixth overall (Panthers), OT2

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Eighth overall (Falcons), OT3

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Fifth overall (Giants), OT2

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): Ninth overall (Seahawks), OT2

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Neal was dominant in pass protection at LT in 2021, playing to his size and high-level physical and athletic traits far more consistently. His balance and body control issues did not show up as much. Well-schooled in all three pass sets demanded in the NFL (short set, 45 degree and vertical sets) and in the run game, Neal showed both the power to execute drive blocks and down blocks and the mobility and balance to effectively work to the second level. Neal is the best LT prospect in this draft class and there are few LTs I have studied over the last number of years (Laremy Tunsil comes to mind) who have his size/length/high-level traits profile.

Draft Props to Consider

First Offensive Lineman selected: Evan Neal (+130, Caesars) — It's pretty close to a dead heat between Neal and Ikem Ekwonu to be the first offensive lineman selected. When in doubt, I’ll take the plus-odds in these types of situations. Per Grinding the Mocks, Ekwonu nudged ahead of Neal in mock drafts for a time in late March but Neal has slipped back ahead by a hair in mid-April. Neal is more of the boom-or-bust prospect between the top tackles on the board because of his massive frame (6’7½”, 337 pounds), but he has plenty of athleticism to develop into a monster at left tackle. Alabama has produced first-round offensive linemen in each of the last three drafts, and Neal will likely be the highest-drafted out of the group. Jonah Williams went No. 11 to the Bengals in 2019, Jedrick Wills went No. 10 to the Browns in 2020, and Alex Leatherwood went No. 17 to the Raiders in 2021. The Texans, Jets, and Giants each have needs for an offensive tackle early in the Draft and they each pick inside the top five, so he’s unlikely to wait long to hear his name on April 28. Our Greg Cosell hasn’t seen many prospects quite like Neal in recent years outside of Laremy Tunsil, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Texans bookend their offensive line with these two mammoth tackles.

Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Fifth overall (Giants), OT1

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Fifth overall (Giants), OT2

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 15): Third overall (Texans), OT1

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): Fifth overall (Giants), OT1

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Ekwonu is a strong, powerful man with a solid, well-proportioned frame and the desired arm length you want at the position. Ekwonu is a grown man as a run blocker, playing with heavy hands and core strength to generate power and force, in addition to showing the mobility and balance needed to block on the move and in space…Ekwonu's competitiveness and downright nastiness with, at times, violent finishing traits jumps off the film and there is no question NFL OL coaches will love that about him. Ekwonu is not as good in pass protection at this point, showing some deficiencies and inefficiencies, although there were many reps in which his fundamental technique was pure and textbook and he dominated the pass rusher. My sense is his inefficiencies can be coached when he gets to the NFL.

Draft Props to Consider

Ikem Ekwonu to be selected as a top-five pick (-275, Bet365) — As noted in Evan Neal’s writeup, it’s still wide open as to who will be the first offensive lineman selected at the end of April. The Jaguars are expected to select between Aidan Hutchinson or Travon Walker with the first overall pick, and the Lions are highly unlikely to select another offensive tackle early in the Draft after selecting Penei Sewell seventh overall last season. The Texans at third overall have been the most likely first spot for an offensive tackle to be taken, and the Jets and Giants are expected to take hard looks at the position, as well, with each team armed with two picks inside the top 10. As our Greg Cosell put it, Ekownu is downright nasty as a blocker and there appear to be fewer questions about his projection to the NFL.

Charles Cross, Mississippi State

Latest Mock Drafts

  • Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network (March 22): Ninth overall (Seahawks), OT3

  • Peter Schrager, NFL Network (April 19): Fifth overall (Giants), OT2

  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic (March 8): 16th overall (Saints), OT3

  • Todd McShay, ESPN (April 5): 13th overall (Texans), OT3

Greg Cosell’s Prospect Guide Analysis

Watching Cross' tape, I was constantly reminded of Tristan Wirfs coming out of Iowa: similar body types that are more compact and coiled as opposed to long and rangy the way we tend to think of OTs in the NFL. Cross was rarely out of phase in his pass sets, and the few times he was he showed outstanding recovery body control and balance to regain his footwork and technique. Few OTs in pass protection repeat their mechanics as often and as efficiently as Cross, and that's a defining feature of his game. He played in an offense in which the running game was an afterthought, but there is no question Cross can be effective as a blocker in the zone run game ,and he certainly has the core strength and power to be a strong down blocker in gap scheme and outside pull concepts…Cross will transition well to the NFL and my sense is he will be a day 1 starter at either LT or RT depending on which team drafts him.

Draft Props to Consider

Charles Cross under 7.5 draft position (+105, FOXBet, placed April 25) and First Offensive Lineman selected: Charles Cross (+700, UniBet, placed April 25) — Cross has emerged as the likely third offensive lineman selected in the first round after Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal, and his odds to be the first offensive lineman selected have shrunk from +1400 in early April to +700 just days before the draft. There’s certainly a chance that the Texans, the Jets, the Giants, and/or the Panthers have Cross above Neal and Ekwonu. At the very least, there’s been gathering momentum that both the Giants and Panthers have Cross at the top of their draft boards and those teams collectively own picks 5-7 on April 28. Cross said at his Pro Day that Giants and Jets have shown the most interest in him, and the Giants had a large contingent at his workout. We could see some combination of Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson, Sauce Gardner/Derek Stingley, and Kayvon Thibodeaux go with the first four picks on Thursday night, which would open the door for Cross to go fifth overall and to be the first O-lineman selected. It’s looking more and more likely that the Panthers will go with an offensive lineman if they stick at No. 6 and the Giants pick again at No. 7 so Cross could have multiple chances to be taken before the eighth pick.

Brolley’s Best Bets

  • Sam Howell over 42.5 draft position (-114, FanDuel). Risk 1.14 units to win one unit.

  • Charles Cross under 7.5 draft position (+105, FOXBet, placed April 25). Risk one unit to win 1.05 units.

  • First Offensive Lineman selected: Charles Cross (+700, UniBet, placed April 25). Risk one unit to win seven units.

  • First Offensive Lineman selected: Evan Neal (+130, Caesars, placed April 13). Risk one unit to win 1.3 units.

  • Kenny Pickett to be the first QB selected (+225, FOXBet, placed April 6). Risk one unit to win 2.25 units.

  • Kenny Pickett to be selected by the Carolina Panthers (+175, FOXBet, placed April 6). Risk one unit to win 1.75 units

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.