NFL - Betting

Odds to Be First WR Drafted 2021: Alabama's Jaylen Waddle Makes for Intriguing Dark Horse

Jaylen Waddle's odds of being the first wide receiver drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft could make him an intriguing dark horse.
Jaylen Waddle's odds of being the first wide receiver drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft could make him an intriguing dark horse. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the calendar preparing to turn from late March to early April, the 2021 NFL Draft is just around the corner. With the return of the NFL Draft comes a slew of prop bets and exciting odds surrounding the event provided by FanDuel Sportsbook, including odds to be the first player drafted at each position.

While some of those positional races by the odds are more set than others, we've got an exciting competition between three candidates that could all see hear their name called as the first receiver off the board come April 29th.

Perhaps, none more exciting than former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who currently sits third in the odds to be the first WR drafted at +1000.

Odds to Be First WR Drafted 2021

1. Ja'Marr Chase (-220)

LSU Tigers

2. DeVonta Smith (+150)

Alabama Crimson Tide

3. Jaylen Waddle (+1000)

Alabama Crimson Tide

4. Rashod Bateman (+6000)

Minnesota Golden Gophers

5. Kadarius Toney (+10000)

Florida Gators

6. Terrace Marshall Jr. (+10000)

LSU Tigers

7. Rondale Moore (+12000)

Purdue Boilermakers

8. Amon-Ra St. Brown (+14000)

USC Trojans

9. Tylan Wallace (+14000)

Oklahoma State Sooners

While former LSU Tigers star wideout Ja'Marr Chase remains the odds-on favorite at -220 odds, followed by one of Waddle's teammates and the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner in DeVonta Smith at +150, we could see a shake-up between now and draft night that leaves Waddle sitting prettier than we may have once thought.

At the moment, it's widely believed that the first three picks in this year's draft will all be quarterbacks following last Friday's blockbuster trade between the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins that elevated the Niners to the No. 3 overall pick.

Picking fourth, we have the Atlanta Falcons, who may or may not be in the market to draft a quarterback or even trade down, with the possibility that they take an offensive tackle like Penei Sewell with their pick as a strong candidate as well.

That brings us to the Cincinnati Bengals' No. 5 overall pick, which has already been speculated by many will be used on Chase to reunite the former explosive LSU duo between Joe Burrow and Chase once again in Cincinnati.

However, let's take a step back to the Falcons here. In a scenario in which the Falcons either trade out of the No. 4 overall pick or take a quarterback and pass on a talent like Sewell, the former Oregon Ducks star could be too important a piece for the Bengals to pass up if he's still on the board at No. 5.

Considering Burrow is coming off a gruesome leg injury from his rookie campaign that was arguably a direct result of Cincinnati's blatant lack of depth and talent on the offensive line, the possibility of adding Sewell could trump reuniting Burrow with Chase.

And if the Bengals pass on Chase and that personal tie to Burrow at No. 5, it could easily come down to a preference by fit for a team like the Miami Dolphins at No. 6 or the Detroit Lions at No. 7. But what about DeVonta Smith?

While Smith's Heisman hardware and 2020 stats speak for themselves, scouts don't believe he is as good as a natural route-runner as his teammate Waddle. And when it comes down to the potential for two similarly-sized bodies, the route-running separation ability could be the final deciding factor.

Of course, Waddle's +1000 odds of being the first receiver taken aren't a mistake, but there's certainly a chance that this dark horse sneaks into the No. 2 or No. 1 WR drafted.

Just think back to last year, when less than one month away from the draft, Henry Ruggs (+700) trailed both a former Alabama teammate in Jerry Jeudy (+100) and Oklahoma Sooners' star CeeDee Lamb (+120) in the odds to be the first WR taken.

Fast forward to the No. 12 overall pick by the Oakland Raiders and the rest is history.

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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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