2022 NFL Draft: Why Ikem Ekwonu Is Worth 4-1 Odds To Go No. 1 Overall

(As posted on thesportsdaily.com)

Excitement is mounting for the 2022 NFL Draft, and with the combine and free agency getting nearer, buzz around who teams should pick is starting to make some serious noise. A lot of this noise has been about who the Jaguars, or perhaps some other bold team, will draft with the first overall pick. Many have speculated it will be left tackle Evan Neal, projecting the expense of premier resources to protect a franchise QB. Others believe it will be a defensive playmaker, pointing to edge players Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux. However, savvy bettors should seriously think about taking a flier on tackle/guard Ikem Ekwonu.

The Case For Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu

The fundamental point worth focusing on is that Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu has played both tackle and guard at a high level in college. Even if he is only the third best tackle in this draft, and it can easily be argued that this is not the case, his ability and value as a guard cannot be understated. With multiple teams at the top of the draft needing help across their offensive line, we could see the losers of the free agency race do everything in their power to land this versatile phenom. Doing so will allow them maximum flexibility in finding the best variation of their offensive-line for the immediate future while also building for the distant future. This is incredibly valuable, especially for teams such as the Jaguars and the Giants.

Who Cares?

Both the Jaguars and the Giants have young quarterbacks that are on trial, and the fairest trial uses evidence composed of protected play. And while it is true that both offensive lines struggled last year, both also have some tentative pieces. They would like those pieces to solidify if at all possible, and that means drafting a versatile player that doesn’t have to replace them.

Building Around The Budding Trevor Lawrence

The Jaguars drafted Walker Little in the second round of last year’s draft, a tackle from Stanford who sat out his final collegiate season due to Covid. Seeing as he commanded a second round pick without playing the entire year before the draft, it is safe to assume that he has a shot at earning the left tackle spot this offseason. Of course, if the Jaguars were to draft Neal or Cross a competition could be held for the tackle spots, but that seems to be a waste of resources. Why not draft a player that can play either tackle spot or move inside, solidifying a sequential chunk of the offensive-line? If Little can impress at left tackle the Jaguars can decide to settle for mediocrity at right tackle and move Ickey inside, or vice versa, depending on how their players meld. And of course, if Little does not impress, or if it is best to move him to the right side, Ickey can step into the left tackle spot on day one. Picking Ickey with the first overall pick is the best bang for the Jaguars buck, which makes him a great pick for football fans that are interested in sports betting in Florida.

Finding Out If Danny Is Worth A Dime

On the chance that the Jaguars find little appeal to this approach, instead staying on the offensive side of the ball but preferring either of the other two tackles, there is a possibility that the Giants move up from the fifth spot to take Ickey first overall. Unlike some other years, in which the first three picks are clear cut, the talent between the first pick and the fifth pick this year is not so different. With that being said, and assuming a scenario in which the Jaguars have no preference between Neal and Cross (the difference between them is indeed largely negligible), they could be content with a relatively cheap trade offer from the Giants involving the fifth pick, building draft capital and waiting on one of the tackles to fall to them. 

On the flip side, the Giants, who desperately need to fix their offensive live and determine what they have in Daniel Jones, could pair this trade with a trade out of the seventh pick and sit on Kenyon Green, the best proper guard in the draft. He likely would not be drafted by another team in the top 15, and the Commanders, who are looking for a franchise QB, seem like potential trade partners. Thus, trading up to the first overall pick and out of the seventh would ensure that they get the talent they need whilst losing minimal draft capital. They struggled at both guard spots and at right tackle last year, and though Thomas played better last year than in his rookie season, he has only notched one good year on his belt. Ickey can fill any of those spots, and that is a dream fix for such a mess. Now that sports betting in New York is legal, Giants fans can bet on Ekwonu to go No. 1 overall at some of the top online sportsbooks in the US.

Other NFL Draft Odds for the No. 1 Pick

The combine, pro days, and free agency will all be telling, but there is a good chance that bettors won’t see better odds on Ickey than they do right now. In fact, in the short period of time since starting this article, the odds have been cut in half. Those looking to bet on the NFL draft really should act now.

Other odds, which can be found and acted upon on BetOnline, are Evan Neal -175 (1:1.75), Aidan Hutchinson +275 (2.75:1), and Kayvon Thibodeaux +1000 (10:1).