One of the reasons Trey Wingo loves the NFL draft is that it’s unpredictable.
“It’s the ultimate reality TV show,” he said. “None of us knows what’s going to happen. It’s just the most fun.”
Wingo, 58, succeeded Chris Berman as host of ESPN’s NFL draft coverage before leaving the network in late 2020 after a 23-year run. He joined Caesars Sportsbook last year as its chief trends officer and brand ambassador.
“That’s a fancy way of saying I’m going to talk about stuff for Caesars Sportsbook,” Wingo said. “Basically like what I did for ESPN all those years.”
Wingo held court this week at Caesars Palace, where bettors will try to predict who will be the first overall pick and the first quarterback drafted, as well as a plethora of other props.
“The best storylines for this draft is that it’s completely unknown,” Wingo said. “We still don’t know who’s going No. 1 overall, and we might not have a quarterback taken in the top 15 picks. Although someone’s going to reach. Someone always reaches.
“The last time we didn’t have a quarterback go in the top three since 2001 was in 2013, when EJ Manuel went 16th overall to the Bills. Almost invariably, someone reaches on a quarterback, and if you take a quarterback in the top 10 in this year’s draft, it’s going to be a reach.”
Liberty QB Malik Willis is a -175 favorite at Caesars to go over his draft position of 13½, and Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett is -280 to go over 14½.
Georgia defensive end Travon Walker is the -300 favorite to be the No. 1 pick after opening as high as 40-1, and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is the +325 second choice after being the odds-on favorite.
Wingo expects one of them to go No. 1. But nothing would surprise him after what happened to Laremy Tunsil, who was projected as the top offensive tackle in the 2016 draft before his stock took a big hit after a video posted on Twitter.
“Moments before he’s drafted, a video surfaces of him smoking weed in a gas-mask bong,” Wingo said. “That tells you you’ve got to prepare for some weird (stuff) in the NFL draft. What kind of odds could you have gotten on that?”
Odds and ends
There are some interesting odds and ends about Wingo, including that he said he can recite the final score, MVP and location of every Super Bowl.
“It’s my one party trick,” he said with a laugh. “I have nothing else.”
We gave him a pop quiz on Super Bowl LV, and he promptly aced it.
“That would be 27-10 the final score. It was in New Orleans, and it was the Raiders over the Eagles,” he said. “Jim Plunkett was the MVP. But Rod Martin should’ve been the MVP. He had three interceptions.”
Wingo’s full name is Hal Chapman Wingo III. Trey is his nickname for being Hal the third.
Trey’s father is a former reporter and editor at Life magazine and a co-founder of People magazine.
His father covered everything from the Kennedy assassination to the first Super Bowl. He also once helped carry an inebriated Washington running back John Riggins out of a formal banquet.
“Sandy baby, loosen up”
Riggins, two years after he was named the 1983 Super Bowl MVP, was a guest of People magazine at the Washington Press Club’s annual black-tie event, “Salute to Congress,” at the Washington Sheraton hotel.
He was seated with Hal Wingo at a table that included Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
“Riggo showed up absolutely hammered and kept telling Sandra Day O’Connor, ‘Come on, Sandy baby, loosen up. You’re too tight,’” Trey Wingo said. “Eventually, he passes out underneath the table and is snoring so loudly that they had to take him out of the dinner.
“(The Associated Press) took a picture of my dad and another of People’s editors carrying a drunk John Riggins out of the dinner. In the background is Peter Jennings. I had that picture framed, and it’s on my wall.”