2014 NFL Draft Round One
By Chris Malumphy
The Houston Texans, reeling off a 2-14 season, drafted South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Clowney is a beast of a player and is considered the most athletic player in the draft. Question is, how much does he want to play and will he show up when the going gets rough, unlike what he did when he sleepwalked through his last year at South Carolina awaiting to be drafted. If Houston falls behind or is out of the race, will Clowney abandon ship, or will he show character and fight to get his team back in the running. The last times the top pick in the NFL draft were used on defensive ends were: Mario Williams (2006, Texans, North Carolina State), Courtney Brown (2000, Browns, Penn State), Bruce Smith (1985, Bills, Virginia Tech), Lee Roy Selmon (1976, Buccaneers, Oklahoma), Ed Too Tall Jones (1974, Cowboys, Tennessee State), John Matuszak (1973, Oilers, Tampa) and Walt Patulski (1972, Bills, Notre Dame).
Hoping to better protect its quarterback, whether its Sam Bradford or someone else, the St. Louis Rams chose Auburn tackle Greg Robinson. The Jacksonville Jaguars attacked a major problem by selecting the first quarterback in the draft, Blake Bortles from Central Florida.
The Buffalo Bills paid dearly to move up five places in a trade with the Cleveland Browns to get the top receiver in the draft, Sammy Watkins of Clemson. One of the top two defenders in the draft, linebacker Khalil Mack of Buffalo was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in a move that should pay big dividends for years to come.
The Atlanta Falcons put quarterback Matt Ryan at ease by selecting the lineman with the best bloodlines in the history of football, tackle Jake Matthews from Texas A&M, the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, nephew of a long-time all-pro linebacker Clay Matthews, cousin of linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. and grandson of old-timer tackle Clay Matthews. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers then drafted Matthews former Texas A&M teammate Mike Evans, a top-notch receiver who should take pressure off Vincent Jackson and provide a great target for quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.
The Browns swapped positions with the Vikings to pick cornerback Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State. New Cleveland coach Mike Pettine hopes to pair Gilbert with Joe Haden, the best defensive player on the Browns, to form a pair of shutdown corners. The Vikings added UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. With the two top wide receivers off the board, the Detroit Lions opted for tight end Eric Ebron of North Carolina. The Tennessee Titans moved to build their offensive line with Michigan's Taylor Lewan.
LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham will be catching passes from the New York Giants Eli Manning in the near future. The St. Louis Rams added to an already strong defensive line by picking Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh. Defensive back Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech goes to the Chicago Bears. The Pittsburgh Steelers picked Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. Eschewing quarterback Johnny Manziel, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys drafted tackle Zack Martin of Notre Dame. The new Ray Lewis in Baltimore is inside linebacker C.J. Mosely from Alabama, the alma mater of general manager Ozzie Newsome. Rex Ryan adds to the New York Jets defense by selecting safety Calvin Pryor of Louisville. In need of rebuilding their entire offensive line after the Richie Incognito debacle, the Miami Dolphins added Tennessee tackle Ja'Wuan James. The New Orleans Saints traded with the Arizona Cardinals to pick wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix joins the Green Bay Packers.
With their third trade since the beginning of the draft, the Cleveland Browns gained a choice from Philadelphia and selected quarterback Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M. Manziel waited longer than he thought he would but the Browns manuevered to get their man. Smaller the most, and with an electric personality and playing style, Manziel has the potential to be both a star or the bust. The most important attribute in Manziel's favor is his overwhelming desire to win. The Browns hope Manziel can channel Russell Wilson, Fran Tarkenton and the best of Doug Flutie. It's been a long wait since the days of Bernie Kosar, Brian Sipe, Bill Nelson, Frank Ryan and Otto Graham when the Browns made the playoffs more often than not.
The Kansas City Chiefs picked Dee Ford, a defensive end from Auburn. The Bengals added corner back Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State who had fallen more than had been expected. TCU cornerback Jason Verret was drafted by the San Diego Chargers. With the pick obtained from Cleveland, the Philadelphia Eagles selected defensive end Marcus Smith. Washington State safety Deone Bucannon went to the Arizona Cardinals.
The Carolina Panthers gave Cam Newton a huge target by drafting 6'5" Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley will try to fill the middle of the New England Patriot's defensive line. The San Francisco 49ers added Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. The Denver Broncos tabbed cornerback Bradley Roby from Ohio State to improve their defense.
Thought to likely be the first pick of the draft just a few short weeks ago, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the last pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Running backs continue to be devalued as no running back was selected in the first round for the second straight draft. The last time a running back was taken with the first draft pick was in 1995 when the Bengals drafted Ki-Jana Carter from Penn State. In the 1980s, three running backs were the top picks: Bo Jackson (1986, Buccaneers, Auburn), George Rogers (1981, Saints, South Carolina) and Billy Sims (1980, Lions, Oklahoma). In the 1970s,s Earl Campbell (1978, Oilers, Texas) and Ricky Bell (1977, Buccaneers, USC) were top dogs. The 1960s had O.J. Simpson (1969, Bills, USC), Jim Grabowski (1966, Dolphins, Illinois), Tucker Fredrickson (1965, Giants, Auburn), Ernie Davis (1962, Redskins, Syracuse), Tommy Mason (1961, Vikings, Tulane) and Billy Cannon (1960, Rams, LSU).
Texas A&M and Louisville led the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by producing three picks each. Texas A&M players selected in the 1st round were: Jake Matthews (T, 6th pick, Falcons), Mike Evans (WR, 7th pick, Buccaneers) and Johnny Manziel (QB, 22nd pick, Browns). The players selected from Louisville in the first round were: Calvin Pryor (DB, 18th pick, Jets), Marcus Smith (DE, 26th pick, Eagles) and Teddy Bridgewater (QB, 32nd pick, Vikings)
Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State each produced two picks. Alabama had C.J. Mosely (LB, 17th pick, Ravens) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (DB, 21st pick, Packers). Auburn produced Greg Robinson (T, 2nd pick, Rams) and Dee Ford (DE, 23rd pick, Chiefs). Drafted from Ohio State were Ryan Shazier (LB, 15th pick, Steelers) and Bradley Roby (DB, 31st pick, Broncos).
The Rams, Browns and Vikings each had two first round choices. The Colts, Redskins and Seahawks had none. The Rams added to their offensive and defensive lines by selecting Greg Robinson (T, 2nd pick, Auburn) and Aaron Donald (DT, 13th pick, Pittsburgh). The Browns traded three times during the first round and came away with the most exciting and polarizing player in the draft--Johnny Football. The Browns took Justin Gilbert (DB, 8th pick, Oklahoma State) and Johnny Manziel (QB, 22nd pick, Texas A&M). It was the third time in recent memory that the Browns had used the 22nd pick in the first round on a quarterback. The others were Brandon Weeden (2012, Oklahoma State) and Brady Quinn (2007, Notre Dame). The Vikings came away with Anthony Barr (LB, 9th pick, UCLA) and Teddy Bridgewater (QB, 32nd pick, Louisville) who nearly fell out of the first round after earlier being predicted as the most draft ready quarterback and a possible top choice in the draft.
Overall, 18 defensive and 14 offensive players were selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Defensive backs led the way with nine selections devoted to stopping the pass-happy offenses that dominate today's game. Offensive tackles and wide receivers led the offensive selections with 5 players picked at each of those positions. On defense there were also four linebackers, three defensive ends and two defensive tackles. On offense, there were also three quarterbacks and a tight end.
|2014 NFL Draft Round One|
|1||1||1||Jadeveon Clowney||Texans||DE||South Carolina|
|1||3||3||Blake Bortles||Jaguars||QB||Central Florida|
|1||6||6||Jake Matthews||Falcons||T||Texas A&M|
|1||7||7||Mike Evans||Buccaneers||WR||Texas A&M|
|1||8||8||Justin Gilbert||Browns||DB||Oklahoma State|
|1||10||10||Eric Ebron||Lions||TE||North Carolina|
|1||14||14||Kyle Fuller||Bears||DB||Virginia Tech|
|1||15||15||Ryan Shazier||Steelers||LB||Ohio State|
|1||16||16||Zach Martin||Cowboys||T||Notre Dame|
|1||20||20||Brandin Cooks||Saints||WR||Oregon State|
|1||21||21||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Packers||DB||Alabama|
|1||22||22||Johnny Manziel||Browns||QB||Texas A&M|
|1||24||24||Darqueze Dennard||Bengals||DB||Michard State|
|1||25||25||Jason Verrett||Chargers||DB||Texas Christian|
|1||27||27||Deone Bucannon||Cardinals||DB||Washington State|
|1||28||28||Kelvin Benjamin||Panthers||WR||Florida State|
|1||30||30||Jimmie Ward||49ers||DB||Northern Illinois|
|1||31||31||Bradley Roby||Broncos||DB||Ohio State|