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What will position be of Raiders’ 1st draft pick? Bet on it

There are plenty of holes to fill on the Raiders after they went 6-11 last season and ranked in the bottom eight of the NFL in passing defense (242.9 yards per game), total defense (365.6 ypg) and scoring defense (24.6 points per game).

What will the position be of the Raiders’ first selection in the NFL draft? You can bet on that proposition at Station Casinos, which lists cornerback as the +125 favorite, followed by offensive lineman (+175), defensive lineman/edge (+225) and quarterback (+325).

“Although quarterback was discussed, and they need help on both sides of the line of scrimmage, we felt that cornerback was probably the No. 1 position the Raiders will have to address,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “Cornerback seems to be such a glaring need when you play in a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson.”

The Raiders have the No. 7 pick, and Station has taken sharp money on Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon to go under his draft position over-under of 7½, moving the price from -130 to -160.

“Witherspoon is the top-rated corner and one of the top 10 players in the draft,” Esposito said. “He’s a big corner, he’s physical and he’s polished. We’ve seen what Sauce Gardner has done for the Jets. Witherspoon has those traits to become a shutdown corner in what is the most pass-happy division in football in the AFC West.”

Witherspoon also is a -230 favorite over Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez (+180) in a matchup of which player will be drafted first. At Caesars Sportsbook, Witherspoon is -190 to be the first cornerback drafted, while Gonzalez is the +140 second choice.

Esposito said it’s a deep draft for offensive linemen, but he could see the Raiders drafting an edge rusher or quarterback with their first pick if the top ones slip to No. 7.

“If a guy like (edge rusher) Tyree Wilson or Jalen Carter slips, that’s always a possibility,” he said. “There’s a little bit of value at the quarterback position at over 3-1 if, for some reason, (Anthony) Richardson or (Will) Levis is still on the board at that point.

“Then it becomes an intriguing option for the Raiders to have (Jimmy) Garoppolo start for a couple years and have one of those guys sit behind him.”

Sharp money also has shown on Carter to go over his draft position of 6½, which is up to -190. Under is +155.

“Eighty to 90 percent of the mocks have Jalen Carter under 6½, yet the money is clearly over 6½,” Esposito said.

Four or five QBs?

The number of quarterbacks drafted in the first round is 4½ at Station, where the under on Monday climbed from -120 to -135. Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Richardson and Levis appear to be surefire first-round picks, with Hendon Hooker a question mark.

“I don’t think Hooker, coming off an injury and being a little bit older quarterback, is going to go in the top 10 or 15, but I could see a team maybe trading back late in the first round for Hooker,” Esposito said. “It’s that fifth year of eligibility that you get for a first-round pick. It’s just such a quarterback-driven league, and this year, there are more teams with quarterback question marks than I can ever remember.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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