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NFL Draft 2021: Jaelan Phillips at +125 can be the first D-Lineman taken

Kwity Paye of Michigan is currently the -110 favorite to be the First D-Lineman drafted
Kwity Paye of Michigan is currently the -110 favorite to be the First D-Lineman drafted
By Zachary Rainey

As we saw in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win over Kansas City in the Super Bowl, the game in the NFL for success has become getting to the quarterback with the least amount of players possible.

I know, this isn’t a new tactic by any means, but we saw it recently.

A lot of times, a top-tier edge rusher commands a top-ten, sometimes even top-five selection. This year, there is no such prospect, so a lot of the edge rushers are likely to go in the teens down to the early twenties.

The position race for first defensive lineman off the board is still a tight one.

As of early Wednesday morning, Kwity Paye currently sits as the favorite according to most Sportsbooks to be the first defensive lineman selected at -110 but BetMGM have him at odds against - a +120 play! He's accompanied closely by Miami’s Jaelan Phillips at +125 with a best price of +200 with William Hill.

Alabama’s Christian Barmore is third at +400 with Miami’s Gregory Rousseau at +900.

Let’s start with the cross-offs. I’m crossing off Barmore. I see a lot of mock drafts that don’t even have him being selected in the first round. Of the ones that do, he’s being taken as literally the last pick in the first round by Tampa Bay. 

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While I personally would have Rousseau closer to Barmore’s odds, I still don’t think there’s any way he’s the first defensive lineman picked.

You can’t opt out as a team’s best player to focus on the NFL Combine and workouts and then show up overweight and slow. Coming into the season, Rousseau was high on a lot of draft boards, similar to Penn State’s Micah Parsons. But when you choose to sit out, and then negative things start coming up about you, it’s tough to get that draft stock back, especially when, in Rousseau’s case, someone on your own team is now more highly thought of.

That brings us down to just Paye and Phillips. While in their previous solo mock drafts, both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay had Paye being selected over Phillips, Kiper took Phillips over Paye when the two collaborated for a first-round mock.

A trend I’ve seen with the bigger names in the NFL Draft world has been the earlier mocks favored Paye. But mocks within the last week favor Phillips, including NBC Sports legend Peter King and’s Peter Schrager.

Kiper Jr. had the Indianapolis Colts selecting Phillips with the No. 21 pick, while King has Phillips going to the Miami Dolphins at No. 18. Schrager has Phillips going the highest at No. 14 to the Minnesota Vikings.

Phillips to be the first defensive lineman selected at +125 will almost certainly be on my personal card. 

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