Best 2021 NFL Draft bets for first positional draftee: Etienne ready to be first running back called
The start of the 2021 NFL Draft is so close we can taste it. There is a seemingly endless string of props to wager on, and we’ll be getting you prepped right up until Roger Goodell calls Trevor Lawrence’s name. There are of course over/under on individual players, and you can check out our favorite of those plays here.
Mock draft season is in full swing as well, and we’ve got our own one of those here. One of the most popular bets each year is wagering on which player in a given position group will be drafted first. That’s what we’ll be taking a look at today. Without further ado, let’s dive in:
First Running Back drafted – Travis Etienne (+150)
Getting Etienne at this much plus-money has significant value. Najee Harris got most of the attention late in the college football season, but Etienne is by far the most ready for an NFL passing game. In today’s NFL, where it’s so important for running backs to be skilled at pass protection and catching balls out of the backfield, Etienne has a big advantage. Most of the plugged-in guys who I trust seem to think it’s really close to 50/50 between Harris and Etienne, so there’s no way I could bet -225 odds with Harris here.
First Offensive Lineman drafted – Rashawn Slater (+250)
I continue to think that teams aren’t quite as high on Penei Sewell as the media is. Buzz has been building for a while now that plenty of clubs have Slater over Sewell on their boards. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network had Slater going first in his penultimate mock, and he’s got some of the best draft sources out there. This one also feels like closer to a toss-up, and getting +250 is a steal. Playing for Northwestern, Slater flew a bit under the radar with national audiences, but that certainly isn’t the case in league circles.
First Linebacker drafted – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (+700), Zaven Collins (+1000)
This is a fade of Micah Parsons, who is priced at a very steep -400. As such, I recommend taking a little bit of both Owusu-Koramoah and Collins if you’re looking for a bigger payday. I think Parsons is going to slip, as his stock has seemingly dipped significantly over the past month or two. Rumors of off-field issues persist. Jeremiah had him going 15th, just two spots ahead of Owusu-Koramoah. That’s too close to warrant this kind of price difference.
Meanwhile Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork, another plugged-in draft insider, has Collins going 16th to the Cardinals in his final mock. He said everything he’s heard the past couple weeks indicates Collins will be Arizona’s pick at 16. If that’s the case, there’s certainly better than a 10/1 chance that he goes ahead of Parsons, who could really tumble.
Be sure to check out Pickwise’s other 2021 NFL Draft content:
- Full first-round mock draft
- Who will the 49ers take third overall?
- Best 2021 NFL Draft player draft position prop bets
- Who will be the first non-quarterback drafted?
- Prize giveaway
- Odds, expert predictions, and best bets
Pickswise is the home of free expert NFL Picks and NFL Predictions. Check our season previews and NFL Futures Bets leading up to the NFL Season, including our favorite NFL Prop Bets for the 2021 season.