The Falcons have been tied to more than a dozen different prospects with their first-round pick. Atlanta has been mocked edge rushers, pass catchers, signal callers, and a couple of defensive backs. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson, Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Treylon Burks, Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Derek Stingley, Sauce Gardner, Kyle Hamilton and a bevy of offensive line prospects are all in the cards for Atlanta’s 8th overall pick. Projecting who the Falcons will select is especially difficult this year — an anonymous general manager told Peter King.
“You can take the top 20 most plugged-in guys in your business. Ask them to pick the top 10 guys in this draft. I would bet a lot of money no two guys have the same top 10. When you don’t know who’s going one or two or three at this point of the year, you’ve got a mysterious year.”
Well, the folks over at FiveThirtyEight are doing their absolute best to predict where specific prospects will go by using Vegas lines and analytics from ESPN and DraftKings.
Some of the figures that jump out immediately are Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Charles Cross. ESPN is very confident that the Cincinnati cornerback will be off the board prior to the Falcons’ pick at No. 8. They are estimating the probability that Gardner will go seventh or earlier at 96.4%; however, the betting market puts the chances of a selection earlier than the Falcons’ pick at just 54.1%.
Charles Cross is another interesting situation. ESPN is more confident in Cross not going before the 7th pick than any other scenario — 1.5% chance Cross is off the board before the Falcons pick. But there are a few other intriguing statistics.
Kyle Hamilton going earlier than the 9th pick is 92.2% likely, while Garrett Wilson going in the top ten is 86.6% likely. Jermaine Johnson going before the 9th pick is only 15.7% likely. Seeing Derek Stingley that low is bothersome, but obviously, these are all projections. Referencing King’s piece, guessing who any of these general managers have graded highest on their big boards makes this exercise extremely difficult.