NFL Draft Odds: Marvin Harrison Jr. Huge Favorite To Be First WR Drafted; What About Malik Nabers?

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Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
NFL Draft odds WR

Ohio State phenom Marvin Harrison Jr. was a foregone conclusion to be the top wide receiver in this year’s NFL Draft… until he wasn’t. As the draft cycle turned on, LSU’s Malik Nabers began creeping into conversations, and then dominating them. At the start of April, Harrison Jr. is still a huge favorite over Nabers in NFL Draft WR odds to be the first selected at his position. But do front offices agree?

NFL Draft odds are only as accurate as the information behind them. A reminder when betting on the draft: personal evaluations – hell, even some professional evaluations – don’t matter. Regardless of where 31 franchises value a player, it just takes one front office to love a prospect to send him off the board.

NFL Draft Odds: First WR Drafted

Click on the odds to place your betFanduel:
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M. Harrison Jr.
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M. Nabers
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R. Odunze
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Where Harrison Jr. & Nabers Are Projected In Mock Drafts

The top two receiver prospects are projected to come flying off the board. One (or both) are mainstays in the top five. A popular landing spot, given the current draft order, slots one of these two WRs at No. 4 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. The Los Angeles Chargers, at No. 5 overall, are also a popular pick to select a receiver on Day 1.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah released his post-free agency mock draft, slotting Harrison Jr. and Nabers back-to-back. In the mock, he projected the New York Jets to trade up to the No. 5 spot for MHJ. Nabers went a pick later to the New York Giants. With upwards of four QBs projected to go in the top four picks, the fifth and sixth spots seem like the most likely landing place for either WR. After all, the WR-needy Cardinals, Chargers, and Giants sit 4-5-6.

But multiple sources say the Cardinals are a likely trade-back team. This information helps solve the QB puzzle.

Ben Albright – a reliable source in the AFC West draft sphere – pins the Chargers as a trade-back team. While the Bolts are certainly in need of a pass catcher, this year’s class runs incredibly deep. As we’ve seen from recent drafts, plenty of star power exists on Days 2 and 3 (see: Tank Dell). L.A. is also in desperate need of offensive line help to protect Justin Herbert, who’s spent much of his young NFL career hurt.

Nabers Skyrockets Up Draft Boards

According to Grinding the Mocks, Nabers is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the draft cycle. Ahead of the 2023 season, he was viewed as a late-first-round selection, with expert mocks placing him between 19th and 28th. By Bowl Season, he became more polarizing, with expert mocks slotting him as highly as fifth overall and as low as the second round.

nfl draft wr odds

Grinding the Mocks collects an average of industry and fan mock drafts to show stock movement over the course of the year. As of April 1, Nabers appears to be a consensus top-10 pick, averaging out near sixth overall.

At his Pro Day in late March, Nabers clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash, among the best marks in the class. Harrison Jr. declined to work out at the Scouting Combine or Ohio State’s Pro Day.

A Razor-Thin Margin

Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranks Harrison Jr. as the second-best overall prospect in his Top 100; Nabers falls in place just behind him at third overall. While not an exact reflection of the order these prospects get drafted – TE Brock Bowers is ranked fifth and QB JJ McCarthy 24th – it’s an indication of just how razor-thin the talent margin may be between the two.

Nabers led the nation with over 1,500 receiving yards in 2023. Perhaps most impressively, he did so on the fifth-most targets and eighth-most receptions. The cumulative stats were certainly helped along by LSU’s nation-best offense and Heisman-winning QB Jayden Daniels; having one of the country’s most porous defenses helped, too. But Nabers wasn’t just a product of a system. He finished second in yards per route run (3.81 Y/RR, min. 75 targets) – a metric that measures effectiveness on a per-play basis. Think of it in terms of EPA for receivers.

Last year, Harrison Jr. finished tied for the nation lead in touchdowns (14), top-10 in nearly every category, and fifth in Y/RR (3.5). But a lackluster offense and Ohio State’s most average QB in a decade certainly hurt his production. In 2022, Harrison Jr. finished third in Y/RR (3.15). He finished as a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2023, finishing fourth in voting. He also took home the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s best pass catcher.

It’s easy to see why both receivers are hotly debated for the WR1 spot.

What Do NFL Draft Odds Say About Top WR?

At FanDuel Sportsbook, there’s a pretty clear consensus: Marvin Harrison Jr. The Ohio State product is a heavy -550 favorite to be the first receiver off the board. That number’s even higher at other shops. Nabers is priced at +380 to be WR1. This market offers the best value on backing Nabers on April 25.

Looking to back the other side? Other markets may be worth a look.

MHJ is -155 to come off the board at No. 4 overall (as of April 1). That number’s come down, though, in response to rumors surrounding a trade-up for McCarthy. That move up for McCarthy might create value for Harrison Jr. in other spots.

Under the assumption Harrison Jr. comes off the board at No. 4 (or earlier), Nabers becomes a slight favorite at No. 5 overall (+200). Nabers continues as the favorite into pick No. 6 (+160), while Harrison Jr. falls to a longer shot in that spot.

Keep in mind: NFL Draft odds often are not accurate. Last year, TheLines’ mock draft that strictly followed sportsbook odds scored just 126th among graded mocks.

If you buy into the hype surrounding a trade-up inside the top five to draft McCarthy, placing a bet on Harrison Jr. to go No. 5 overall (+250) might be worth a look.

The 2024 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 25, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Best of luck if you are betting NFL Draft WR odds or other props!

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