The 2018 NFL draft kicks off Thursday as the 32 NFL teams look to improve their rosters. As we’ve seen in the past from teams like the New Orleans Saints last year, a draft can go a long way in determining success in the coming season. Before we get into the selection process, let’s take one last look at the Super Bowl futures. After a draft – based on picks, trades and more – a lot of these betting odds could change.
The New England Patriots (+500) are the favorites and who is going to argue with that? While they fell just short in their efforts to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they have two picks in the first round (23rd and 31st), so they can reload. They’ve had a strange offseason as reigning MVP Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski haven’t even said if they will play next season. Although they are expected to be back, there are also reports that those two lead a group that is upset with coach Bill Belichick.
Next are the defending Super Bowl champions from Philadelphia (+900) and the Los Angeles Rams (+900). The Eagles will pick 32nd in the first round but they don’t need a lot of help after their offseason. They acquired Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata and Mike Wallace. Carson Wentz thinks he’ll be back from his torn ACL by Week 1, but the Eagles know what they have in Nick Foles. As for the Rams, they don’t pick until the third round of the draft after trading away a number of selections. They traded picks for Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and then signed Ndamukong Suh, among others. The Rams have expectations now and after going 11-5 last season, they’re not out to rest on their laurels.
Then you have a group of Minnesota (+1000), Pittsburgh (+1000) and Green Bay (+1000), and San Francisco (+1400). The 49ers have the highest pick out of that group at ninth. They finished the regular season winning five straight and appear to be a team on the rise. They also acquired Richard Sherman in the offseason, but will they add to their defense or get more weapons for stud quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo? The Vikings came up short in the NFC title game and don’t pick until 30th, but their roster looks nearly complete. They did sign Kirk Cousins to a huge contract to address the quarterback position. The Packers pick 14th and while they slumped last year, a lot of that was due to Aaron Rodgers’ injury. Typically, they’ve been conservative in previous drafts under Ted Thompson but with new management in place, they could be aggressive.
The main storyline of the draft will be the quarterbacks as Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen are all going to be first-round picks. Three of them are expected to go in the top five picks. Franchise fortunes will change based on who booms and who busts among these passers, so that will be an intriguing theme of the night on Thursday.