Predictions on NFC Teams Drafting Offense or Defense With Their First Pick – Part 1

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We are now just one week away from the 2020 NFL Draft!

Normally, this day can sneak up on us as the NBA regular season playoff races begin to catch fire as well as Major League Baseball opening up play.

Yea, about that… We do have baseball picks for you nearly every day moving forward as the Chinese Professional Baseball League began to play this month! They actually have mannequin fans “strategically” placed throughout the park in the stands.

Our writers have researched the teams thoroughly but even if you’re a little hesitant throwing your entire stimulus check on a baseball game in Taiwan, that’s okay.

Definitely try to watch a couple of the games if you have time. I think they start around 0600 Eastern Standard Time daily and take off on Mondays.

Keep up with our picks section and when you’re comfortable, you can make some well-calculated wagers that produce some winners.

As for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft beginning next Thursday evening and lasting through the weekend.

Today, we are going to focus on the first round. More specifically, I want to look at the various NFC teams and make a prediction whether they will pick an offensive player with their first pick or go with a defender.

BetOnline.AG has the odds for us today. There are a plethora of betting opportunities available for the draft.

I know it’s not actually a live game but it can be even more fun, and profitable for that matter.

Let’s focus on teams from the NFC today and make our predictions for offense or defense.

NFC Teams First Pick

Arizona Cardinals

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Most every mock draft has the Arizona Cardinals drafting an offensive lineman, specifically a tackle with the 8th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Hence the (-400) betting odds.

Kyler Murray was able to start all 16 games in his rookie season for the Arizona Cardinals and nearly finished with a 2 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio.

20 TDs and 12 picks are pretty darn good numbers for a rookie. They 100% need to protect their franchise quarterback Kyler Murray. He was sacked 48 times! And he has peak athletic ability to escape pass rushers. 2020 wasn’t pretty in that regard.

This is why I’m thinking they will take an offensive tackle like Tristan Wirfs out of offensive line heaven AKA the University of Iowa.

They did just re-sign both tackles this offseason even though Wirfs is quite the improvement in raw talent.

There’s also this that came out last night: Cardinals general manager Steve Kiem joked that quarterback Kyler Murray has been lobbying hard for who he wants in the draft, particularly the first pick.

He is pushing for his college teammate, wide receiver Ceedee Lamb as well as various offensive lineman and tight ends.

Steve mentioned that Murray hasn’t mentioned one defensive player and that he probably shouldn’t be taking advice from the young quarterback. That’s potentially a small hint that a defensive pick is in order for ‘Zona at #8.

If someone like Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown is still available, they may go with defense. You have to protect Murray but it’s also no secret this team was much better on offense than defense last season.

Arizona ranked 27th or worse in the following defensive statistical categories:

  • Yards/play
  • Points/play
  • Yards/game
  • Points/game
  • 3rd down conversion %
  • Completion % = 70%
  • Yards/pass
  • Pass yards/game
  • Interceptions

Chandler Jones still racked up 19 sacks and had 8 forced fumbles! It’s really too bad big brother Jon Jones gets all the headlines, many times for the wrong reasons. It would be nice to see him get some help in the trenches.

I’m expecting the Cardinals to pick an offensive lineman but there’s enough value here to throw a few bucks on the (+250) the other way.

The Bet

Atlanta Falcons

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Wow, even bigger odds! I don’t think any other team has favorable odds greater than (-600).

Here’s what Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff had to say:

“We do believe, definitely, it is need and fit, that’s important for us. Best player on the board works into it, if you have two or three positions that you do need. Hopefully, you’re going to go with the best player at that position, unless there is a completely disjointed set up. Meaning, if we needed a position exponentially more than another position, and we weren’t going to go with the best player at another position.”

Well, that clears it up! Talk about ambiguity!

The recent word is that the Falcons could potentially move up from their current 16th spot. They could move up and take a cornerback but if not, I almost surely see them picking a defensive tackle at 16.

The (-600) isn’t worth it, though, clearly.

Pick: Pass

Carolina Panthers

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After releasing the long-time face of the franchise, quarterback Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to take over the duties under center.

The team also made running back sensation Christian McCaffrey the highest-paid player at his position in football making a cool million per start.

The defense lost Luke Kuechly to a stunning retirement, though. He was their leader on that side of the ball in every way. He will be missed dearly.

The offense was incredibly imbalanced in 2019 as they only ran the ball 35% of the time. A major part of that stat is due to them losing most ball games. I think for the offense to return to a balanced attack, they must improve their defense.

Playing from behind all the time is a recipe for interceptions, sacks, and potential injuries to star players. Last season, the Carolina offense ranked 26th and 28th in sacks allowed and interceptions.

They can’t succeed with obvious perpetual passing downs. The defense was last in the NFL in rush yards/attempt and 31st in points per play and per game.

The Bet

Chicago Bears

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Say what? Wouldn’t it behoove Da Bearss to improve upon an offense that ranked 29th in yards per rush AND 31st in yards per pass?

I would imagine so but a lot of mock drafts and the sportsbooks are leaning defense here.

In contrast to those offensive team statistics, the 2020 Bears defense ranked 6th and 7th, respectively, in yards per rush and yards per pass allowed.

Well, it’s imperative we note that the Chicago Bears first draft pick isn’t until #43 in the second round.

The majority of their free agent signings were defensive players as well. We can see why they are the team they are.

Contrary to popular belief, though, Nick Foles is not God.

I know Mitch Trubisky is that bad but I don’t think the team gets that much better on offense simply by making the switch at quarterback.

They do have glaring holes at cornerback, safety, and offensive guard.

The draft is deep at cornerback so that will likely be the selection but a team ranked near 30th in sacks allowed and yards per rush could use some interior line help.

The Bet

Dallas Cowboys

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#1 in the NFL last season in yards/play, it is unlikely the Dallas Cowboys will look for an offensive player with their first pick in the upcoming draft.

The defense was pretty good too, ranking in the top ten in passing and rushing yards allowed per play. How did they not make the playoffs again?!

Playing in the worst division in football I might add… Maybe now-former head coach Jason Garrett was the problem. Mike McCarthy is the new guy under the headset.

I don’t think Dak Prescott skipping offseason virtual workouts is a great idea as he will be leading his team under a new system. One would imagine, though, that he and McCarthy are in close communication.

As far as offense or defense, well the team needs a wide receiver to help Amari Cooper and at pick #17. Finding an edge rusher and a cornerback are each more important, though.

I don’t really like the (-450), though, so we can pass on this one.

Pick: Pass

Detroit Lions

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These teams at the beginning of the alphabet sure suck at defense, huh?

The Detroit Lions were actually off to a decent start in the 2019 regular season until franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford broke his back.

After that happened, the team just fell apart finishing the year with a record of 3-12-1.

They draft at #3 this year. #1 will be Joe Burrow and the Washington Redskins are expected to take Chase Young with the second pick.

Detroit is in a really good spot here if they wanted to trade the pick. In all likelihood, quarterbacks Tua, Love, and Herbert will all be available at number 3.

Even with Matty Stafford going down with that back injury, the team still managed to finish in the middle of the league statistically on offense.

They were a top ten team defending the run but Detroit struggled mightily defending plays through the air.

Please Note:
The pass defense was dead last in yards/game allowed, interceptions, and sacks while the defense as a whole ranked 28th at stopping 3rd down conversions. It doesn’t matter how good your run defense is if teams can easily pick up third downs through the air.

That’s why the Lions are most likely going with Jeff Okudah, cornerback from THE Ohio State University.

The Bet

Green Bay Packers

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Hey, our first playoff team and division winner of the day! The Packers went 13-3 last season but weren’t particularly dominant, though.

Dead in the middle of the league (16th) in yards/play with 5.5, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack made the most of their trips to the red zone.

They were 2nd in the NFL scoring a touchdown on 68% of their drives inside their opponent’s 20 yard line.

Aaron also took excellent care of the football ranking 1st in the NFL in picks. He threw only 4! Drew Brees also threw four but he only started 11 games. Well done, A-a-ron!

The Packers did the little things well. They were top 5 in kicking also.

My point is this team wasn’t the meat and potatoes powerhouse like Baltimore or San Francisco who are top 5 in yards/play on offense and defense.

The team finished 10 games above .500 yet only out-scored their opponents by an average of 4 points all season.

A LOT of credit needs to go directly to Aaron Rodgers! He gets his fair share of hate in the media because he has just one Super Bowl but the man is incredible.

I know he wouldn’t mind some help at wide receiver. Devonte Adams was really his only guy and Jimmy Graham at tight end was a disappointment.

The Packers’ biggest concern in 2020 should be stopping the run. They were 27th in the NFL in 2019 allowing nearly 5 yards/rush.

That is unacceptable and the 49ers were well aware of said weakness and ran all over them in the NFC title game. 31 carries from their top two runners and 263 yards later, that was a wrap. It wasn’t even close.

In free agency, they lost 3 linebackers and signed one. They have done nothing with the interior of the defensive line.

I would definitely address that issue because it doesn’t look like they are going to challenge San Francisco until they can stop them on the ground.

Where the Packers are picking, though, is the perfect spot to get excellent value on a wide receiver. The first round of the draft is incredibly deep at that position and the head coach is an offensive guy.

I say they go with O.

The Bet

Los Angeles Rams

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The Los Angeles Rams don’t have a pick until #53 in the second round. That increases the possibility that they pick a guy who is best available over their #1 need.

Focusing mainly on yards/play, the offense and defense were both top ten.

Why didn’t Los Angeles make the playoffs then?

First off, they were playing an incredibly difficult schedule including games at New Orleans and Baltimore while, of course, having to deal with Seattle and San Francisco. Also, they were crap (31st) stopping opponents on 4th down.

They were also near last in the league themselves converting on 4th and red zone defense was near the bottom of the NFL also.

They need running back, offensive line, and help at cornerback.

With that late of a pick, the variance increases and I’ll take the even money to replace Todd Gurley or just get some run blocking help.

The Rams finished 27th in the league in 2019 in yards/carry on offense.

The Bet

In Conclusion

I am really excited for the upcoming NFL Draft.

I don’t care if there is no crowd there. Actually, I do. I’m happy there is no crowd there, especially if they were going to hold the event in New York City. Scary times.

The first 10 picks of the NFL Draft are starting to solidify in people’s mock drafts and those 10 will affect the next 22 of the first round significantly.

Today, I just wanted to hit some teams’ betting odds for either an offensive guy or a defensive player with their first pick.

Most of the odds we looked at today heavily favored the teams’ drafting defense first but in the coming days, we will go over many of the various scenarios we could see on draft day.

Get your bets in now, guys, and check back regularly for plenty more 2020 NFL Draft content.

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Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.