Mel Kiper’s hair did not move for three days and several teams upgraded their rosters significantly.
But did the NFL draft alter the favorites for the 2011 season, assuming there is one?
Sportsbooks don’t think so. They’re waiting for trades and free agency before adjusting futures odds. The draft, oddsmakers say, has more of a longterm effect.
Jay Rood, MGM Mirage sportsbook director, did not move any team’s odds based on the draft.
The Falcons and Lions grabbed impact players early, but Atlanta remains 15/1 to win the Super Bowl, 6/1 to win the NFC . Detroit stayed at 22/1 and 10/1.
“Without other components coming into play, free agency and trades, to do anything at this point would put us in a bad spot,” Rood said. “If we moved Atlanta further down, now that they have a dual threat at wide receiver (Julio Jones opposite Roddy White), well, I don’t think offense was really their shortcoming to begin with. More offense doesn’t make them that much more of a threat to go deeper in the playoffs.
“For Detroit, Nick Fairley to go with Ndamukong Suh makes it a very scary situation for quarterbacks in their division, but again, they need help on both sides of the ball to catapult them to the next level. If they pick up a couple of free agent and address a few other areas, then yeah, (we might lower their odds).”
The draft, he added “is more impactful two to three years down the road. It’s not very relevant to the upcoming year.”
While Rood did not move any odds, Bodog.com dropped the Lions from 40/1 to 35/1 to win the Super Bowl after they took Fairley, running back Mikel Leshoure and wide receiver Titus Young in the first two rounds. Bodog oddsmaker Richard Gardner said he kept the Falcons at 16/1, adding "there were no major moves."
As soon as free agency and trades begin, odds could change dramatically. Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, Vincent Jackson, Sidney Rice, DeAngelo Williams and Nnamdi Asomugha are just some of the big names that could switch teams.
As for now, MGM Mirage has New England favored to win the Super Bowl at 9/2, followed closely by Green Bay at 5/1. Next are the Jets, Colts and Chargers at 8/1. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Dallas are listed at 10/1.
The biggest longshot? Carolina at 100/1.
“Right now we have a pretty conservative lineup because nobody knows what’s going to happen,” Rood said. “We’re offering a short price on a lot of teams because there’s a lot of uncertainty.
“The uncertainty is probably causing the board to be devalued just a tad,” he added. “We’ve got the Cardinals at 80/1 for example. Realistically, they probably should be 150/1, but until we know what happens in free agency…”
While Rood is right about the draft’s longterm impact, let’s look at which teams helped themselves the most for 2011 and which failed to address glaring needs:
Houston: Historically bad against the pass, the Texans added two defensive ends, two cornerbacks and a safety with their first five picks. First-rounder J.J. Watt and second-round corner Brandon Harris will contribute immediately.
Atlanta: Yes they gave up a lot, but the Falcons got a game-breaker in Julio Jones who happens to be a punishing blocker too. Elusive RB Jacquizz Rogers provides the perfect complement to bruiser Michael Turner.
Pittsburgh: The Steelers methodically filled holes at defensive end (Cameron Heyward), offensive tackle (Marcus Gilbert) and corner (Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen). Nothing flashy, just another haul putting them in contention for a seventh Super Bowl crown.
St. Louis: The Rams desperately needed to give Sam Bradford a burner at wideout. They required major help at defensive tackle and running back. They ignored those needs, taking defensive end Robert Quinn, tight end Lance Kendricks and taller, possession receivers.
Dallas: The Cowboys had a horrific secondary last year, yet did not address it until Round 5. That’s when they grabbed corner Josh Thomas from Buffalo. Dallas did not even draft a safety.
New England: The Patriots got the offensive tackle they coveted in Nate Solder, but failed to boost the pass rush. They got no outside linebackers and didn’t pick a defensive end until the sixth. Of course, New England loaded up for 2012, when they’ll have two first- and second-rounders.