The phrase “it’s a passing league” is bandied about ad nauseam these days because… well, it’s absolutely correct. Of the top 11 passing seasons in NFL history, 10 of them have come in the last 10 years. You read that right—aside from the 1995 season, the highest volume of passing attempts per game have all come over the last decade. There has been an average of at least 34 passing attempts per game every year since 2011 and that trend shows no signs of slowing down.
As a result, defenses are leaning on defensive backs more in general and in greater volume to combat spread offenses and the increased usage of three- and four-receiver sets. Young playmakers at both cornerback and safety have the opportunity to make an impact early on in their NFL careers.
How many players at each position will be drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft? Let’s break down the BetOnline odds for those prop bets:
How many cornerbacks will be drafted in Round 1?
- Over 4 (-200)
- Under 4 (+150)
As we’ve done with other bets of this nature, let’s dive into a few different factors.
How many teams need a cornerback in the first place? The Draft Network lists cornerback as a primary need for 20 teams, and 18 of those 20 teams have a first-round pick.
Let’s now look at some recent mock drafts to see how things played out. The most recent mock from Trevor Sikkema had six cornerbacks selected in the top 32. The mocks before that by Brentley Weissman, Drae Harris, Kyle Crabbs, and Joe Marino each had exactly four.
These are the cornerbacks with a good chance to be selected on the first night of the draft on April 29:
- Patrick Surtain II
- Jaycee Horn
- Caleb Farley
- Greg Newsome II
- Eric Stokes
There is no hook on this bet, which makes a push highly likely for bettors who decide to wager on this prop. Surtain and Horn are beyond locks to go in Round 1, but things get a bit murkier from there. Farley has the talent to be a top-10-caliber pick, but a microdiscectomy may cause him to fall—possibly even out of the first round. Newsome has first-round talent, but might not be a top-three or four corner on some teams’ boards. Stokes brings a ton of speed to the table but feels more like a Day 2 pick—as does Asante Samuel Jr., the sixth corner taken in Sikkema’s aforementioned mock draft.
I believe this wager will ultimately end up pushing, but if I had to pick a side, give me the under at plus odds. It feels way more likely that one of the players mentioned in the list above falls out of the first round than all five make it. If I’m betting a likely push, I might as well do it on the side with a better potential return.
Best Bet: Under 4 CBs (+150)
The safety bet for Round 1 is really simple: Do you believe TCU’s Trevon Moehrig gets drafted in the top 32?
- Over 0.5 safeties (-200)
- Under 0.5 safeties (+150)
The Draft Network lists seven teams with a primary need for a safety, including two likely landing destinations: Jacksonville (No. 25) and Baltimore (No. 27). I also wouldn’t rule out New Orleans (No. 28), where safety is listed as the top secondary need.
Moehrig was drafted in the first round in four of TDN’s last five mock drafts, going to either the Jaguars or Ravens. It feels like that’s the exact scenario that will play out on April 29, as one of those teams turns in the card to take the best safety in the draft.
Best Bet: Over 0.5 safeties (-200)