FILE – Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Indianapolis. Walker is expected to be taken in the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
- Georgia defensive end Travon Walker is the new -220 odds-on betting favorite to be selected first overall in the 2022 NFL Draft
- Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who was the -200 chalk entering the weekend, has slipped to the second choice at +160
- Speculation is that the Jacksonville Jaguars, who own the top pick in the draft, are leaning toward Walker
Georgia Bulldogs defensive end Travon Walker started the weekend #2 in the 2022 NFL Draft odds. Today, he’s #1.
So what happened to cause this sudden change?
Speculation being floated by NFL insiders is that the Jacksonville Jaguars are liking Walker more than Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson among the two defensive studs who’ve been heading the 2022 NFL Draft odds through the offseason.
Hutchinson went into the weekend as the -200 chalk. By Monday morning, the line had shifted. Now, it’s Waker at -220 who’s the odds-on favorite to go first overall.
2022 NFL Draft First Overall Pick Odds
Odds as of April 25th at Caesars Sportsbook
The NFL Draft is slated to get underway at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 28. ESPN, ABC and the NFL Network are all involved in the broadcast. The draft can also be live-streamed on fuboTV.
Hutchinson is at +160 currently as the second betting choice. That’s leaving the Wolverines star with an implied probability of going first overall of 38.46%. At -220, Walker’s IP of being tabbed with the first pick of the draft is at 68.75%.
Draft Buzz Favoring Walker
Publicly, the Jaguars are claiming that they’re still seeking to decide between four different players as to who they might claim with the first overall selection on Thursday night. Privately, NFL insiders are suggesting that the call has already been made and that it is for Walker.
Published reports are indicating that the Jaguars find Walker’s potential upside more preferable than the proven commodity that Hutchinson brings to the field. The numbers Walker finished with last season were hardly awe-inspiring – six sacks and 29 QB hurries.
— Jaime Eisner (@JaimeEisner) April 25, 2022
However, quietly, the Jaguars are of the belief that the 6-foot-5, 270-pound EDGE hasn’t come close to realizing his potential as a football player. They are convinced that with his combination of length, speed, explosiveness, strength and versatility, it could lead Walker to more growth as a player and more tools to utilize in order to beat NFL offensive linemen.
Does Hutchinson Offer Value?
Certainly, of the two players, on paper Hutchinson looks to be the safer pick. When you put the numbers posted by the Michigan defensive side by side with Walker’s totals, it’s no contest.
Last season, Hutchinson finished with 14 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and 64 QB pressures. That’s elite-level pass-rushing performance. His technique is solid as a pass rusher and he comes with a devout determination to finish the play with the quarterback buried in the ground.
10 time: 1.62
3 cone: 6.73
10 time: 1.62
3 cone: 6.89
(I don’t agree with the limited upside take on Hutchinson)
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 25, 2022
Many NFL execs are of the opinion that Hutchinson is destined to be an NFL impact player. They don’t share Jacksonville’s apparent infatuation with Walker’s potential for development. Then again, the Jags thought Urban Meyer was the answer at head coach, so perhaps doubting their football judgment is not without warrant.
In other words, anticipating that Jacksonville will make the wrong move might be the right decision path to follow.
Where There’s Smoke . . .
Historically, when there’s a buzz about a player and he begins moving up the odds board, you should pay attention. Remember in 2019 when there was all that late talk about Kyler Murray and his odds began to shorten? Some people scoffed but it was Murray’s name that was called first on draft night.
It’s clearly a two-horse race for the #1 overall pick. It will be either Walker or Hutchinson. At one point, you could’ve got +3000 odds on Walker going first overall.
Should Aidan Hutchinson be the No. 1 pick?
“I don’t think he’s gonna get that much better.”@BruceFeldmanCFB asked NFL coaches whether or not they buy him as a top overall talent.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) April 25, 2022
Impressive showings by Walker at the NFL Combine (4.51 forty-yard dash, 35-inch vertical jump, and a 6.89 3-cone time) and during the Georgia Pro Day have swayed football people to his camp.
Remember, the biggest impact player ever drafted out of Michigan went in the seventh round, some guy named Tom Brady.
It would be great to tell you that taking the value on Hutchinson is worth your while. In point of fact, hopefully, you grabbed the value offered on Walker last week . . . or even better, last month.
Pick: Travon Walker (-220)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.