Fanspeak NFL Draft Notes: Reddit, Will Levis, and what Las Vegas knows that the rest of us don’t

NFL Draft News

Bryce Young is going No. 1 overall to Carolina, right?

Maybe not.

The internet was all aflutter this week after word started to spread that Will Levis was telling family and friends that he was going to be the first overall draft pick.

It has to be true if he’s telling people, right?

Suddenly, betting odds dramatically shifted.

Here’s what happened with FOX Bet, via Fox Sports: “In just a 48-hour span, Levis’ No. 1 pick odds went from plus-5000 to plus-2000 to plus-1000 to currently plus-550 at FOX Bet.”

It happened everywhere.

* At FanDuel, Young remains the odds-on favorite at minus-1400, but Levis has closed the gap and is now at plus-800. (Click here for Fanspeak’s Sportsbook/Daily Fantasy Offers)

* VegasInsider now lists Young at minus-1350 and Levis at plus-700.

But that’s not all the rumors swirling around the Kentucky signal-caller.

Word started to circulate this week that Minnesota was desperately trying to move up into the top-2 or 3 to snag Levis. Keep in mind, that would take an enormous draft haul for the Vikings to make that happen, as the team doesn’t own a second-round pick this year. According to the Rich Hill NFL Trade Value Chart via, Minnesota would have to give up three firsts and either a future second or two thirds to come close to matching the trade value of the No. 2 overall pick, currently owned by Houston.

So what the heck is going on here?

It’s possible that it all started last weekend, when Levis overtook Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud as the odds-on favorite to be the No. 2 quarterback taken.


No one knows for sure, but Jaime Eisner of The Draft Network speculates that it’s because the Vikings are trying to move up. Remember, Minnesota did not extend Kirk Cousins beyond this season. Cousins will be 35 this season.

From Eisner in his latest mock draft: “I’ve heard loud rumblings that Minnesota is very active in trying to trade up for a quarterback and I think they will pull off a blockbuster here. … There is a major disconnect between how fans and those inside the NFL view Will Levis. … (T)here are plenty who believe he is absolutely worth the cost with the upside to be the best passer in the class when it’s all said and done.”

That rumor at least tracks with another one: Houston is trying to get out of the No. 2 overall pick.’s Lance Zierlein fueled that fire last week on Twitter. But Zierlien’s not the only one who’s heard that Houston is trying to trade down. Various media reports have been circulating for weeks that the Texans were leaning toward taking a defensive player, presumably Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson, with the No. 2 pick if Young was already gone.

But Zierlein’s tweet may have been what ultimately lit the Levis-goes-No. 2 fuse, as the respected NFL draft analyst’s comment simply confirmed what had already been speculated for weeks about Houston’s draft intentions.

Keep in mind, too, that Arizona is reportedly trying to drum up trade interest for the No. 3 pick, according to WalterFootball. It would take a similar package for the Vikings to move up to No. 3.

Add the Zierlien tweet with the Eisner bombshell and now you have plausible cause for Levis to surpass Stroud as the No. 2 QB.

Then came another bombshell in this recent Reddit comment from user SaleAgreeable2834:

“Well ladies and gentleman, he’s telling friends and family Carolina will in fact take him on Thursday. You’re welcome.”

The Reddit user also went on to comment that it’s still just speculation, but he also claimed to know Levis. Nothing, however, is currently known about the Reddit user who started the latest rumor.

Regardless, it had an even bigger impact on the betting odds. According to Sports Illustrated, Levis’ odds to go No. 1 shortened from plus-4000 to plus-600 Tuesday morning at SI Sportsbook, “a dramatic shift that appears to be in response to a Reddit rumor.”

So there you have it. Levis is going No. 1. Or No. 2 to Minnesota. Or No. 2 to Houston. Or No. 4 to Indianapolis.

We’ll find out soon enough, but one question remains: What does Las Vegas know that the public doesn’t? Keep in mind, the Levis rumors only started to spread after he became the betting favorite this past weekend to be selected second overall.

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Not to be lost in all this is the recent hit Stroud has taken to his draft stock.

So why is the quarterback who arguably had the best throwing session at the Combine in recent memory suddenly staring up at a prospect in Levis who has questions about his accuracy? And why is there such a gap between the athletically gifted, 6-foot-3, 214-pound Stroud versus the 5-foot-10, 204-pound Young, who will be the smallest starting QB in the league next season?

It may be due to his allegedly low S2 Cognition score, the latest rage in the NFL’s pursuit of measuring a quarterback’s projected future. The scores were recently leaked to the media.

The S2 is a gaming laptop that measures how players process and makes quick decisions, and there are NFL personnel who swear by its accuracy in predicting future success.

An NFL executive told Bob McGinn in a recent Go Long Substack that a high S2 score isn’t necessarily a guarantee of success. But if you get a low score? Here’s what the exec said: “…It’s 100 percent – none of the quarterbacks that got a low score became good players.”

The exec went on to say that the benchmark is 80 percent.

Young allegedly scored a 98; Stroud allegedly scored an 18, which the exec said “is incredibly terrible,” adding that some teams will take Stroud off their boards because of the low score.

According to McGinn, Fresno State’s Jake Haener scored a 96 percent, followed by Levis (93), BYU’s Jaren Hall (84) and Houston’s Clayton Tune (84). Florida’s Anthony Richardson, a dark horse candidate to go No. 1, received a score of 79, while Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, a candidate to go in the first-round, received a score of 46, according to the report.

For what it’s worth, San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 draft, allegedly had the highest S2 score among the 2022 rookie QBs.

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If Young and Levis go 1-2, then the trade interest for Arizona’s No. 3 pick should pick up for team’s looking to take Stroud.

The most obvious potential trade would be to move down one spot with Indianapolis, a team desperate to come away with a quarterback. A trade of the Colts first and second-round picks for Arizona’s first- and fourth-round picks would about match up. While the Cardinals would lose its high fourth-round pick, it would still come away with the best defensive player in this draft, Anderson, and pick up an early second-round pick at No. 35 overall. Combined with their two third-round picks, that would give Arizona five picks in the top-100.

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More QB rumors … Could Florida’s Richardson land in Seattle? Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio thinks so after reporting earlier this week that some teams believe the Seahawks will take Richardson. Florio pointed out the team could potentially escape any commitments to QB Geno Smith beyond the 2023 season despite signing him to a three-year extension in March.

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked about the possibility of trading down in the first round, and one potential trade first proposed in the Fanspeak April 19 mock draft is starting to gain steam: The Cowboys move down three spots and swap picks with New Orleans at No. 29 overall for the Saints pick in the fourth round (No. 115 overall). Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Jon Machota had the team’s making the same trade. The Fanspeak trade had New Orleans moving up to take Tennessee’s Hooker. Dallas, meanwhile, would stay in the first round – which is meaningful because first round prospects can be offered five-year contracts.

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Those two teams are tied in another trade rumor. ESPN’s Jordan Reid recently said that he’s “… heard that Dallas and New Orleans are two teams to keep an eye on with (TCU interior offensive lineman Steve) Avila.” And Reid isn’t talking about the second round; he’s talking about Avila going late in the first. While that’s not a huge stretch – Avila is No. 35 in the latest Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board – you can also blame it on the perceived lack of quality offensive linemen in this draft. In other words, if either team passes on Avila in the first round, there’s a good chance he won’t be there when they’re on the clock again.

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Another player mired in recent controversy, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, will likely still land in the top-10 – and one team in particular is allegedly trying to move up to take him. A recent Walter Football Hot Press report says Philadelphia has called teams asking about what it would take to move up a few spots from its pick at No. 10. Various media reports claim teams have taken Carter off its big boards, but there are conflicting reports as to who those teams are. Regardless, it would take Philadelphia’s first- and second-round picks to move up to No. 6, a steep price to pair Carter with his former Georgia teammate Jordan Davis. Then again, Philadelphia traded up from No. 15 to No. 13 last season to draft Davis, giving up a fourth- and two fifth-round picks to swap first-round picks with Houston. Maybe there’s another Philadelphia-Houston trade in the works, especially if the Texans move out of the second spot but remain in the top 10.

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Mississippi State’s Emmanuel Forbes is moving up trade boards, and now reports say he could move up as high as No. 16 to Washington. The 6-foot-1, 166-pound Forbes is by far the skinniest of the top cornerbacks in this draft, but he ran a blazing 40 at the Combine (4.35) and was highly productive in college, returning an NCAA record 6 of 9 INTs for touchdowns. The latest Walter Football Hot Press report says some teams rank Forbes as the third-best cornerback in this draft, behind Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon and Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez.

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Every team has ties to at least one prospect in every draft, and this year is no different. But Dallas seems to have more ties to this year’s rookie class than most.

* Hendon Hooker’s dad, Alan, spent training camp with Dallas in 1988.

* Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughan’s first name is actually Chris, which is the name of his father (hence, “Deuce”). Chris Sr. is the Cowboys’ assistant director of college scouting.

* UCLA WR Jake Bobo’s paternal grandfather was a 12th round pick by Dallas in 1974 after playing QB at SMU.

* Remember former Oregon State QB Bill Musgrave? He was a fourth-round pick by Dallas in 1991; he’s also Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave’s uncle.

* Another Oregon State player, cornerback Rejzohn Wright, has ties to the Cowboys – his brother is former Oregon State CB and 2021 third-rounder Nahshon Wright.

* Marshall CB Steven Gilmore is a late-round or priority FA possibility. He’s the youngest brother of newly acquired cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Obviously, the age difference means the two have never shared the field together. Stephon Gilmore said in a feature in The Athletic that he’s staved off Father Time for the chance of one day playing with his younger brother. Read the heart-warming feature here.


Jake Rigdon (@jrigdon73) covers the NFL draft for His big board is updated at least once per week during the season and leading up to the draft. Message him on Twitter to receive $3 off your new Ultimate GM subscription.

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