No college program is projected to have more players drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft than the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Saban could have anywhere from four to seven of his guys taken among the first 32 player selections, with Vegas setting the over/under at 5.5. In a recent mock draft done by Pro Football Network Draft Analysts Tony Pauline and Andrew DiCecco, Alabama had five players selected in the first round. ESPN’s Mel Kiper only had four in his most recent mock. I decided to give PFN’s brand new Mock Draft Simulator a spin myself (to the tune of 100 mocks) in an attempt to get a strong sample size and potentially find value in the Alabama first-round prop bet.
Starting with the most obvious
When discussing Alabama’s first-round draft picks in 2020, the most logical starting point is quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Despite all the major injury concerns, Tua appears destined to be a top-five selection in the coming draft with both the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers lurking in the shadows, potentially hoping to trade up and acquire his services. In this mock draft experiment, Tua went anywhere from third to ninth overall with his most common landing spot at around fourth.
One scenario that surprisingly played itself out nearly 10% of the time was the New England Patriots trading up to either seven or nine to grab Tagovailoa after he fell out of the top five. There is very little question about Tua’s status as a top-10 pick in the 2020 Draft, however, and according to these simulations, RT Jedrick Wills is primed to join him. Tony Pauline’s rankings have the enormous offensive lineman as the 14th most talented player in this draft, but the PFN mock simulator had Wills go in the top-10 89% of the time. His average selection spot was seventh overall, with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets coming up as teams that frequently acquired his services. Wills did go as high as fourth to the New York Giants, although that seemed to be more of an outlier.
The dynamic wide receiver duo of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III is projected to be the next two Alabama draft picks. These two dynamic talents will likely both land somewhere in the teens with teams like the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Super Bowl runner up San Francisco 49ers all coveting their respective services. This mock draft simulation experiment saw Jeudy go ahead of Ruggs III on 64 of the 100 runs. Jeudy went as high as sixth overall to the Washington Redskins in a trade back scenario and fell into the twenties on seven occasions, although his average player selection spot was 11th overall. Ruggs tended to get drafted in the 12 to 16 range overall, with an average draft position of 15. Both of the Alabama wide receivers are first-round locks at this point.
But are there enough to get us the over?
With four Crimson Tide stars penciled in as first-round picks, how likely is it that at least two other Alabama players hear their names called on Thursday, April 23rd? There are essentially three candidates for the late first-round including cornerback Trevon Diggs, safety Xavier McKinney, and linebacker Terrell Lewis. In this experiment, Diggs went as high as 17th overall to the Dallas Cowboys and was a first-round selection 76% of the time.
McKinney was selected far more frequently in round one at 88%, despite going later than Diggs nearly 40% of the time. If both of these players go in the first round, which the PFN Mock Draft Simulator had occur 67% of the time, then the over at 5.5 seems to hold some value. That’s before you factor in that even if one of the two aforementioned players does drop out of the first round completely, Lewis could potentially swoop in to pick up the pieces.
Overall, this PFN Mock Draft Simulator experiment yielded six or more Alabama first-round draft picks approximately 75% of the time. With the NFL Draft odds currently at over 5.5 players selected for Alabama, our simulation suggests tremendous value in this scenario. While this is still an inexact science, with some books offering the 5.5 at +100, I am recommending a one unit play on the over.