Save for the Clemson Tigers, the ACC as a whole hasn’t had much to brag about over the last few seasons. Last year’s title winner proved to be the Kenny Pickett-led Pittsburgh Panthers who went 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS in the regular season before going on to drop a 31-21 decision as 3-point dogs to the Michigan State Spartans in the Peach Bowl. Pickett – a potential first round draft pick - didn’t suit up for that one. The loss moved the ACC to just 2-4 SU in the conference’s six overall played bowl games. The output was actually an improvement from the prior season that saw all six bowl teams go down in defeat. Bottom line, the ACC has severely lacked star power for a number of seasons now. Last year’s NFL Draft only saw five members of the conference drafted in the first round. SugarHouse Sportsbook isn’t exactly bullish on the conference sending more players into the NFL early on evidenced by the ACC’s prop total for players drafted in the first round only being set at 4.5. While heavier juice is currently attached to the over, I’m not buying it – gimme the under!
Total ACC Players Drafted in 1st Round:
Over 4.5 -125
Under 4.5 -105
One player that’s a stone cold lock to get selected within the first 32 selections is NC State’s Ickey Ekwonu. He’s currently the odds on -130 favorite to be the first offensive linemen taken off the board at SugarHouse. Makes sense considering he’s arguably the best run-blocking hog the draft is currently offering up. He literally has bottles of maple syrup littered throughout his house to signify the amount of “pancake blocks” he served up throughout his career in Raleigh. With his draft position prop currently set at 3.5 and being the odds on +225 favorite to be the third player taken off the board, we can “Sharpie” Ekwonu into the first round.
Up next on the sure thing list of ACC players drafted in the first round of NFL Draft betting is Florida State EDGE Jermaine Johnson. If you can believe it, he left Athens – home of the 2021-22 national champions – to play his final college season in Tallahassee. Though he didn’t get to enjoy winning it all with Kirby and the gang, he did go on to earn ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors by way of logging 12 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He’s currently a -200 chalk to get drafted within the first 10 picks at SugarHouse, and would prove to be a perfect fit for a number of pass rush needy teams littered throughout the first third of the draft order.
Moving along, Boston College’s Zion Johnson looks to be the only other surefire first round selection for the disenchanted conference. The Eagles guard showed ascension in his overall ability over the last three years since transferring in from Davidson. His senior campaign only saw him allow a total of six pressures with his physicality ramped up in a big way. Though a gargantuan 100-1 underdog to be the first offensive linemen chosen in this draft, at least he’s on the board! As such, his availability towards the tail end of the first round will be a sight for sore eyes for teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who’ll likely be looking to plug vacated spots along their respective O-Lines.
If you’ve been reading my draft coverage to this point, you know I’m extremely bullish when it comes to the quarterback crop of the 2022 NFL Draft. I’m already heavily invested in the under 3.5 and 2.5 QBs selected in the first round. It wouldn’t shock me in the least should at the most two field generals be selected once the first 32 selections are announced by Roger Goodell. Will Kenny Pickett be one of those selections? I’m not sure nor am I confident in saying so. Regardless; even if a team does take a stab at him with a first round pick, it would only make it four selected from the conference as a whole. Honestly, there aren’t even any players that I could see NFL execs reaching for currently sitting on or close to the cut-line heading into round two. With that the case, I’ll gladly lay the reduced juice at SugarHouse Sportsbook and back the under of this draft prop.