NFL

NFL Draft Betting: Who Will Be the Ninth Overall Pick?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

The Chicago Bears are in a pretty sweet position as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches. Not only do they possess the first overall pick in a draft with an elite quarterback prospect, but they also have the ninth overall pick. Last year's trade with the Carolina Panthers paid off better than anyone could have imagined.

At this point, it's a foregone conclusion that the Bears will select former USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick -- calling him the "favorite" to be drafted first feels like an understatement with his -10000 odds to be the first pick. But the fate of the ninth overall pick could go in any number of different directions.

We saw this same Bears organization trade down from the first overall pick last season. That kind of move is certainly on the table again this year for the ninth overall pick -- and could majorly change up the draft landscape.

So, according to the NFL Draft odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, which players have the best chances to come off the board at ninth overall on draft night? Let's check it out.

NFL Draft Odds

Player
Position
Odds
Rome OdunzeWR+250
Jared VerseDL+430
Dallas TurnerED+600
Byron MurphyDL+1300
Laiatu LatuED+1300
Brock BowersTE+1400
J.J. McCarthyQB+1400
View Full Table

Rome Odunze, WR (+250)

Washington Huskies wideout Rome Odunze comes in as the frontrunner to be the pick at ninth overall. The talented receiver's positioning here is insulated from a few different angles.

For starters, even with D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen on the roster, the Bears could use more bodies at the position in general. There was a steep drop off from 2023 WR2 Darnell Mooney to their rotating cast of WR3s last year, and securing a third premiere talent at wideout could be the Bears' best way to set up Caleb Williams for success.

On a standalone basis, Odunze profiles as one of the top options in this year's draft -- regardless of position. FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL Draft odds give him +3000 odds to be the first wide receiver drafted (3rd-best), but it feels fair to say that in many other draft classes -- i.e. those without a Marvin Harrison Jr. (-600) or Malik Nabers (+400) -- he could reasonably be expected to be the top receiver drafted.

Odunze has major fans in the NFL Draft analyst community, as well -- NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has Odunze ranked as the third-best player in the entire draft while PFF ranked him sixth overall on their Big Board. The Athletic's Dane Brugler even hypothesized in his latest mock that the Bears could trade up to fifth overall to make sure they could select Odunze.

The NFL Draft community carries a high regard for Odunze, and if he's on the board at No. 9, he might be the pick -- even if it's not the Bears making this selection.

Defensive Line/Edge (+430 to +1300)

After Odunze, we have an interesting trend in the betting odds market -- each of the next four players with the shortest odds to go ninth overall play either defensive line or on the edge.

More than a specific comment about any of these players individually, this seems to be a reflection of the overall draft economy this year. With two or three quarterbacks expected to go in the first few picks, two or three receivers following not far behind, and two or three offensive lineman mixing into the upper echelons of most draft rankings, this year's top defensive trench players fall into a group just behind them -- starting around ninth overall.

To get a sense of how closely together these players are ranked in the industry, I put together a quick chart with the overall ranking for each player from three of the biggest groups in the game -- PFF, NFL.com, and ESPN:

PFF
NFL
ESPN
Jared Verse17th14th15th
Dallas Turner16th12th7th
Byron Murphy13th19th21st
Laiatu Latu11th16th16th

With no one player having a real clear edge over any of his counterparts among the industry's leading analysts, it is hard to pin down any single name here for the ninth overall pick. That makes it a risky proposition to bet any of these players over the others, and it makes me more interested in considering those with the longer odds -- such as Byron Murphy at +1300 -- in the group compared to Jared Verse with his +430 odds.

The Bears have a clear need along the D-line with only Montez Sweat of note returning in 2024. But with that said, it also feels like the team would try to trade back out of this pick if getting a defensive lineman or edge rusher was their goal. Each of the rankings we included in the charts above have all four of these players outside of their top 10 overall ranks except ESPN, which has Dallas Turner (+600) ranked 7th overall.

This specific grouping of odds seems to be heavily derived from the Bears' need at the position, as opposed to relative quality of the players at the DL/EDGE positions in this year's draft class. That could make these odds especially vulnerable to the possibility of a trade -- other teams might not need to bolster their defensive line as badly as Chicago does.

Taliese Fuaga, OL (+1500)

If Odunze is off the board and the Bears stand pat at No. 9, I think there's a good chance they use their second first round pick to make sure Caleb Williams stays upright. Notre Dame Fighting Irish tackle Joe Alt (+1400) has shorter odds than Taliese Fuaga (+1500) to go ninth overall, but given the team needs at the top of the draft, I like Fuaga's chances to land here.

Alt has -280 odds to be the first offensive lineman drafted and would have to make it past teams like the Tennessee Titans, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers to fall to No. 9. Even with trades in the picture, it feels like at least one team will turn to OT in the top eight picks, and Alt seems like the most likely candidate to be that tackle. That clears a path for Fuaga to go ninth.

The Bears' offensive line issues have been exaggerated recently due to having to protect Justin Fields, whose proclivity for holding onto the ball and taking stacks did them no favors. Even still, they could use additional talent across the line. Injuries cost their starters a combined 17 games last year, leaving the team to start multiple backups throughout the season. The team was forced to start a fifth-round pick at right tackle -- no offense to Braxton Jones, who was solid -- for a second straight year, illustrating the issues they've had at the position in recent seasons.

The Bears' organization is likely hoping that Caleb Williams can turn around their downtrodden franchise. Going into a tough NFC North with pass rushers like Aidan Hutchinson, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and others without adequate protection for Williams could be a surefire way to quash those hopes.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.