The 2022 NFL Draft class lacks an elite receiver talent like Ja’Marr Chase. However, it's one of the deepest classes in recent memory; there could be as many as seven receivers selected in the first round. But which one will be the first to come off the board this April? And who is the favorite to do so?
Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, USC’s Drake London was the favorite (-130) to be the first receiver picked. The Pac-12 star caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021 before missing the end of the season with a broken foot. The expectation is that he will be ready to work out for teams before the draft, but he could not work out at the combine. And that had a significant impact on his chances of being the first receiver drafted.
However, several of the other top receivers in this class worked out at the combine and put on a show. It was the fastest receiver class in recent memory as eight receivers ran a 40-yard dash under 4.40 seconds. But the receiver that had the most impressive workout was Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson.
The former Ohio State receiver ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, among the fastest times in the class. He also posted a 36-inch vertical and a 123-inch broad jump, which were both well above average for the position. Wilson was already a lock to be a first-round pick, but now he has a chance to be the first receiver off the board.
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Odds Shifted After Combine
But what do the Ohio sports betting odds say? Does Wilson have a chance to be the first receiver drafted in April? Take a look at the odds for the first receiver to be drafted before the combine compared to after the combine via DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Garrett Wilson, Ohio State||Pre-Combine Odds: +135||Post-Combine Odds: +125|
|Drake London, USC||Pre-Combine Odds: -130||Post-Combine Odds: +175|
|Treylon Burks, Arkansas||Pre-Combine Odds: +600||Post-Combine Odds: +600|
|Jameson Williams, Alabama||Pre-Combine Odds: +1000||Post-Combine Odds: +800|
|Chris Olave, Ohio State||Pre-Combine Odds: +1200||Post-Combine Odds: +1000|
Ohio sports betting is legal, but won’t be up and running in time for the NFL Draft at the end of April. The Ohio Casino Control Commission recently gave an updated timeline for the process of launching sports betting in the state.
Where Might Wilson Go?
Of all the receivers in the 2022 draft class, Wilson is probably the most well-rounded. He has the size, speed and college production to be a star in the NFL. So just how high could Wilson be drafted in this year’s class?
The first team with a major need at wide receiver is the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8. Their No. 1 receiver — Calvin Ridley — was just suspended for the entire 2022 season for gambling on the NFL. And their No. 2 receiver, Russell Gage, is expected to hit the free-agent market.
The next team with a need is the New York Jets. who pick at No. 10. They could use another outside receiver to help second-year quarterback Zach Wilson. And you can make a case that Wilson or London would make a ton of sense in New York. If you feel strongly enough about the chances, most Ohio sportsbook apps should offer markets to wager on.
Do Browns have Chance at No. 13?
But the floor for Wilson is probably the Cleveland Browns at pick No. 13. The Browns have a huge need at wide receiver, even before they have to decide on Jarvis Landry. Wilson would fit Kevin Stefanski’s offense well and would give Baker Mayfield another weapon in the passing game.
Wilson likely won’t fall to Ohio’s other NFL team, the Cincinnati Bengals, who pick 31st after reaching Super Bowl 56. The Bengals have better Super Bowl 57 odds than the Browns, but a dynamic wide receiver like Wilson might help Cleveland close the gap.
With Wilson testing incredibly well at the NFL Combine, it’s hard to see him falling outside of the top 14 in this year’s draft. He is the current favorite to be the first receiver off the board, but keep an eye on London’s odds as they could shift depending on how his Pro Day workout goes. As always, these things can be very fluid. But it appears to be a two-horse race between Wilson and London to be the first receiver drafted.