There are several NFL teams that could use a great receiver, and with the success of rookies Justin Jefferson in 2020 and Ja’Marr Chase in 2021, many of those receiver-needy teams could be inclined to reach for one of the many talented receivers in the 2022 draft class.
That being said, there are only three consensus first-round receivers: Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, and USC’s Drake London. As talented as Chris Olave, Christian Watson, Treylon Burks, and all the other guys are in this year’s class are, only those three are consistently projected to go on Day 1.
The order in which these three receivers will go is still up for debate. Most sites seem to believe that Wilson will go first, Williams second, and London third. According to both OddsChecker US, Wilson has +105 odds (48.8 percent chance) to be the first receiver taken. He’s followed by Williams at +200 (33.3 percent chance) and then London at +220 (31.3 percent chance). Those odds may not seem too far from one another, but keep in mind that this is Vegas and they like to do this stuff so as to not lose money if something crazy happens. In reality, Wilson’s +105 odds signify that he is the clear-cut favorite to be the first wide receiver taken, albeit he’s not a runaway.
Former New York Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum has a different perspective on the matter though. Tannenbaum, who also served as the Miami Dolphins’ VP of football operations between 2015 and 2018 then founded The 33rd Team, believes that not only will London be the first receiver taken off the board, but that he will go within the top-10. “London will go to the Falcons [at 8],” says Tannenbaum. “Wilson to the Jets [at 10] and Williams to the Ravens at 14.”
This would be a shock. Not only because of the order in which these receivers went but because of how early they’d be taken. The over/under for London currently sits at 10.5, but according to OddsChecker spokesperson Kyle Newman, London holds “the expectation that he will go over.” Very few draft analysts and experts actually expect London to be taken anywhere near the top-10.
It’s puzzling. Do oddsmakers and Tannenbaum know something that the rest of the world doesn’t? Oddsmakers are usually pretty good at this type of stuff. If they weren’t, they’d go bankrupt. In 2021, Vegas oddsmakers perfectly predicted the first six picks of the draft. Albeit, 2021 was a much more predictable class than 2022. Therefore, it stands to reason that there’s some truth behind Tannenbaum’s statement.
At the same time, while oddsmakers predicted the first six picks last year flawlessly, they failed to get another selection correct until Rashawn Slater went to the Chargers at 13. So, while oddsmakers think London will go sooner rather than later, they can never be sure. Based on what we’re hearing though, it might be worth it to place a bet down on London being the first receiver selected. His over-under is far lower than where many people thought it would be and with someone as close to the draft as Tannenbaum uttering claims that back up that projection, London would probably be the best bang for your buck option if you had to put some money down. For me though, I’m still holding onto the idea that Wilson will be the first to go.