The Packers were one of the NFL’s biggest winners last season, going 13-3 and falling one victory shy of the Super Bowl after losing to the 49ers in the NFC title game.
But Green Bay was the biggest loser in the NFL draft, in the opinion of Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Ed Salmons and Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito.
The Packers traded up from No. 30 to No. 26 to select former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with their first-round pick, took Boston College running back A.J. Dillon in the second round and didn’t draft a wide receiver for QB Aaron Rodgers.
“To go out and take a quarterback in the first round, they’re basically admitting to the team that they don’t think they can win this year,” Salmons said. “Rodgers is 36, and by NFL standards, 36 is not that old for a quarterback.
“They have two running backs and then they take a third running back. Green Bay was bad.”
Said Esposito: “Rodgers lobbied last year for a weapon they didn’t get him, and in a wide receiver-rich draft, they failed to address it. That’s surprising.”
After the draft, Circa Sports raised the Packers’ Super Bowl odds from 17-1 to 20-1.
Here are the draft’s other biggest winners and losers:
Salmons and Esposito ranked the Ravens as one of the draft’s biggest winners, and Circa Sports agreed. The book made Baltimore a +650 co-Super Bowl favorite with the Chiefs after lowering the Ravens’ odds from 7-1 and raising Kansas City’s odds from 6-1.
Baltimore, which went 14-2 last season before getting upset by the Titans in the playoffs, took Louisiana State linebacker Patrick Queen in the first round and Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round. In March, the Ravens sent a fifth-round pick to the Jaguars for All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell.
“The Ravens are the gold standard for the draft,” Salmons said. “Year in, year out, they’re always in the top three. They always draft good players.”
Circa lowered Denver’s Super Bowl odds from 60-1 to 55-1. The Broncos took wideouts with their first two picks: Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy at No. 15 and Penn State’s K.J. Hamler at No. 46.
“I really like what Denver did,” Esposito said. “They already have (wide receiver) Courtland Sutton and (tight end) Noah Fant. That offense has the potential to be potent if Drew Lock can develop as a quarterback.”
“If they can get anything from their offensive line and quarterback, that Denver team can really make a dramatic jump,” he said.
Circa lowered Dallas’ Super Bowl odds from 17-1 to 16-1. The Cowboys, who replaced coach Jason Garrett with Mike McCarthy, snagged Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb at No. 17 and Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs at No. 51.
“Dallas did really well,” Salmons said. “Before the draft, I thought Philadelphia was a little bit better than Dallas. But now it’s the opposite.
“Dallas’ offense was ridiculously good last year. We all know Dallas’ problem was Jason Garrett.”
Circa lowered Minnesota’s Super Bowl odds from 30-1 to 25-1 after it selected 15 players, a record for a seven-round draft. The Vikings took LSU receiver Justin Jefferson at No. 22 to replace Stefon Diggs after the Eagles selected Texas Christian wideout Jalen Reagor at No. 21.
“Minnesota was a big winner,” Salmons said. “They got 15 players. If eight work out, they really replenished the roster.
“To me, Jefferson was a no-brainer (over Reagor), and compared to Diggs, that’s like a wash. And they got all the extra draft picks in the Diggs trade.”
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners made only five picks, but acquired seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams for a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-rounder to replace retired left tackle Joe Staley.
“To only give up one pick this year to pick up Trent Williams was phenomenal,” Esposito said.
San Francisco also drafted South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at No. 14 to replace defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and selected Arizona State wideout Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25 to replace receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
The Panthers, under rookie coach Matt Rhule, became the first team in the modern era to use all of their picks on defensive players. Carolina took Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown with the No. 7 pick.
“He’s awesome. He’ll be a star in the NFL,” Salmons said. “Carolina was considered one of the worst five teams in the league. That team completely overhauled its coaching staff. They signed (QB) Teddy Bridgewater, and they have (RB Christian) McCaffrey.
“Carolina will be a lot better than most people think.”
After trading up for QB Mitch Trubisky in the 2017 draft and sending the Raiders two first-round picks in 2018 in the Khalil Mack trade, Chicago didn’t have a first-rounder.
With their first pick in the second round, the Bears took Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet, giving them 10 tight ends on their roster.
“The Bears hardly had any picks because they traded them all for Mack and said how great Mack is and how much better they’d be with him. The Raiders’ path is better now,” Salmons said. “The Bears don’t have depth except for tight end. Then they go and sign Jimmy Graham as a free agent and draft a tight end in the second round. Go figure.”