2021 NFL Draft Odds: DL

Odds, trends and analysis

NFL Draft DL Defensive line edge odds

The NFL Draft takes place April 29–May 1, 2021 and will return to some form of familiarity. Last year’s draft happened two months into the COVID-19 pandemic and was relegated to Zoom– removing all in-person aspects like fans, hugs, and the like. Thankfully, the 2021 draft will return fans and in-person drafting when it takes place in Cleveland, Ohio. The Greater Cleveland Sports Console is taking protocols from Super Bowl LV in Tampa and the NBA Playoff Bubble in Orlando to hold a safe draft that’s as close to normal as they can get.

With the central focus shifted off the virus, it’s time to take a look at this year’s draft pool. We’re here to give you positional rundowns, including who the favorites are to be drafted where and what players are generating league buzz.

NFL draft odds: First DL drafted

First DL Drafted

Game
04/29/2021
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Kwity Paye
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-140
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-225
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-176
Jaelan Phillips
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+175
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+225
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+200
Greg Rousseau
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+750
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+900
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+900
Christian Barmore
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+750
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+900
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+775
Jayson Oweh
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+900
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+1800
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+1300
Ronnie Perkins
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+2000
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+4000
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+4000
Levi Onwuzurike
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+3300
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+4000
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+5000

How to bet on first DL drafted

One of the most common NFL Draft prop wagers are those that involve betting on which player will be the first drafted at each position. To find these wagers in an online sportsbook, click the NFL tab to navigate toward the 2021 Draft section. Once there, click on “First Pick by Position” to view the odds.

NFL Draft: 2021 DL profiles

Kwity Paye, Michigan: In his four years at Michigan, Kwity Paye recorded 23.5 tackles for loss (12.5 came during the 2019 season) and 11.5 sacks (six of which came in 2019). He’s an athletic guy from a big program, but he’s built his reputation on being a relentless player with the intangibles that NFL teams love. Paye’s ceiling is high, a height he could achieve in the right system and with time. Unlike last year’s top edge rusher, Chase Young, Paye is better off playing a five technique with his hand in the dirt rather than a floating outside hybrid.

Paye has frequently been mocked to teams like Minnesota (14) and Las Vegas (17), with most projections not letting him fall past that mark. His straightline ability make him perfect for a single-gap scheme in an even front. Scouts rave about his work ethic and ability to be coached, making him an ideal NFL prospect. Paye should be the first edge rusher taken off the board, with most others being projected to fall in the back half of the first round.

Jaelen Phillips, Miami: Phillips was a five-star recruit that played at UCLA before he landed in Miami. He struggled with several injuries including concussions that limited his snap count at UCLA that prompted his transfer. His final collegiate season saw Phillips blossom into the five-star stud he was expected to be. He exploded for eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss in 10 games in 2020 while also adding three pass deflections and an interception. He’s an exciting prospect that’s an explosive combination of athleticism and power.

Phillips excels at defending both the run and pass while being a real force coming off the edge, though his technique can use some refining. We can expect Jaelen Phillips to be in contention for being the first edge rusher taken in the draft, though that title will likely go to Kwity Paye. Teams that could pull the trigger on him include Tennessee (22), Cleveland (26), or Baltimore (27). Should his team be able to hone in on Phillips’ strengths, he could be a star in the NFL.

Gregory Roussueau, Miami: Gregory Rousseau has been a highly-anticipated NFL prospect since the day he stepped foot on Miami’s campus. He opted out of the 2020 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but his 2019 numbers were staggering. In his sophomore season, Rousseau recorded 19.5 tackles for a loss and a mind-boggling 15.5 sacks in 13 games. He was a dominant force that could benefit a team in the later-first round after his draft stock fell by not playing in 2020.

His overall falling draft stock could trigger a team to buy the dip and pick Rousseau higher than other higher-rated prospects. Like the other edge rushers, the Tennessee Titans are a potential landing spot, especially should they buy into that draft stock dip. Cleveland is another team that could possibly be interested, complementing Rousseau with Myles Garrett. He’s a raw player that’s in need of fine-tuning, but scouting reports list him as a potential Pro Bowler in the future.

Christian Barmore, Alabama: Christian Barmore has a ridiculously impressive highlight tape; his peaks are among the highest of any interior defensive lineman in the class. However, Barmore never established a full starting position at Alabama and he has plenty of tape of him getting blown off his position. Nevertheless, he’s 6′ 5″, 310 pounds, making him easily the biggest prospect of the group.

NFL franchises love guys who have the frame and physical traits to be great with the rest being worked out later. Due to this, Barmore is expected to be the first of the interior guys taken come late April, though it remains to be seen if he’ll be picked in the first round or not. Teams that could pull the trigger on him Day 1 include New Orleans and Tampa Bay, though Barmore have a better chance of coming off the board in the second round.

Tommy Togiai, Ohio State: Ohio State continues to produce top-level defensive line prospects and Togiai is no exception. He stands 6′ 2″, 300 pounds with excellent leverage, though he lacks the length and some of the explosiveness of other prospects. Why Togiai falls so high on draft boards is his incredibly high floor– you know what you’re getting with him. Although his ceiling isn’t that of Barmore, Togiai will find a niche as an early-down gap-stopper rather than a third-down pass rusher.

Though the position isn’t acknowledged much in many defensive systems, Togiai is a true nose tackle, capable of taking away the A- and B-gaps. He’s likely to fall in the second round to teams like San Francisco, New England, or Miami.

Levi Onwuzurike, Washington: Levi “O” made a great career at Washington, picking up 12.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in his last two seasons with the Huskies. He’s an athletic player that will wind up as a starting defensive tackle in the NFL who commands multiple blockers to slow him down. Onwuzurike’s best trait is his ability to play every down, a valuable trait in today’s NFL. Scouting reports list him as being more effective in a four-man front, but don’t rule out the potential to play in any system. Projections have him going in the back half of the second round, as early as pick 47 and potentially as late as pick 55.

NFL Draft DL History

Here is a list of the first DL taken in each NFL Draft going back to 2010.

YearTeamPlayerCollegePick (No. overall)
2020WashingtonChase YoungOhio State2
2019San FranciscoNick BosaOhio State2
2018DenverBradley ChubbNC State5
2017ClevelandMyles GarrettTexas A&M1
2016San DiegoJoey BosaOhio State6
2015NY JetsLeonard WilliamsUSC3
2014HousonJadeveon Clowney South Carolina1
2013MiamiDion JordanOregon3
2012Kansas CityDontari PoeMemphis11
2011BuffaloMarcell DareusAlabama3
2010DetroitNdamukong SuhNebraska2

NFL Draft strategy and trends

Last year’s draft class of interior defensive linemen was highly regarded, led by guys like Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw. Both players went in the top-15 to Carolina and San Francisco, respectively, and were relatively quiet in their rookie seasons. Brown in particular struggled after his first season in the pros. Due to the “bust” of last year’s interior class and the overall lack of explosive talent in this year’s class, it can be expected that teams will be hesitant to be pulling Barmore or Togiai off the board earlier than their second-round projections.

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