Thursday was a wild night at the 2022 NFL Draft and not just because only one quarterback was taken or that the first five players off the board were defenders. No, in the middle of the draft, we saw some crazy trades with established wide receivers Marquise Brown and A.J. Brown being traded to new teams.
While the internet has lit up with analysis over their fits on their new teams, we wanted to look at what the acquisitions did to the NFL Futures odds for each division.
Let’s begin in the NFC East since A.J. Brown was the biggest name dealt last night. He immediately gives the Eagles a game-breaking wide receiver for quarterback Jalen Hurts, which is something the team was desperately missing.
The Eagles obviously also had issues on the offensive line last year, so they’ll need to make sure to address those to give bettors even more faith in them to win the division, but I’m not so sure the Cowboys should be considered a lock. Yes, they went 12-5 last year and scored the most points in the NFL, but they also lost Amari Cooper in a trade and Michael Gallup to injury. With Zeke Elliott seemingly losing explosiveness, it’s not crazy to think we could see a changing of the guard at the top of the division.
The NFC West is a bit more confusing. The defending Super Bowl champions are the clear favorites, and we should expect as much, even though they lost Von Miller and likely Odell Beckham Jr. (to injury and free agency). The 49ers, who made the NFC Championship last year, remain just behind, but we have no idea what’s going to happen with Deebo Samuel, who supposedly wants a trade. If he gets moved, you’d have to imagine the odds for the 49ers become much worse.
That could give the Cardinals a chance to become more threatening in the division. The Seahawks are not likely to be a major threat with Drew Lock at quarterback, so a Deebo Samuel trade could make this a race between the Cardinals and Rams. Hollywood Brown is essentially moving into the role vacated by Christian Kirk and will keep his college teammate Kyler Murray happen and in town. With DeAndre Hopkins also coming back healthy, the Cardinals, who finished just a game behind the Rams, are a sneaky bet.
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Even without Hollywood Brown in town, the Ravens have solid odds to win the division. The Ravens still have Rashod Bateman to lead the receiving corps, and we know their defense will always be up for the challenge, which keeps them in the mix. They will also be getting J.K. Dobbins back next year, which will make their offense even more explosive. Even though, they should look to add another wide receiver in the draft.
While Cleveland will remain the favorite given their additions of Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper, there has always been off-field drama in Cleveland, and we’re not sure this mix will make that go away. Cleveland has the bigger name players, but we haven’t seen them actually put it together in recent years where there has been a lot of hope as well. Counting on the Ravens or defending Super Bowl runner-up Bengals to win the division might not be a bad idea.