The first round of the NFL brought a few surprises Thursday, after No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina went to the Houston Texans, as many expected. For many, the story of the night was Heisman winner Johnny Manziel – and how the Cleveland Browns wound up with a new quarterback after skipping him with its first pick.
The Browns took a convoluted route to get Manziel: the team traded away its No. 4 pick, then made other trades that slightly shifted their other slots.
“The thought process was simple,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Manziel was taken with the draft’s 22nd pick, far lower than many analysts had predicted. And with every pick that didn’t include his name, “The cameras went to Manziel’s table, too. Over and over,” NFL.com’s Judy Battista reports.
Battista describes the awkwardness:
“Hour after hour, Manziel sat at his table, the one closest to the curtain that led to the stage, forced repeatedly by its position into making the uncomfortable decision to either congratulate the next lucky selectee — which he did often, most enthusiastically for fellow Aggies Jake Matthews and Mike Evans — or to stare down or straight ahead as one more player walked by.”
In the end, the Browns selected Manziel in the slot it had gained by trading two of its lower slots to the Philadelphia Eagles, as team owner Jimmy Haslam finally did what a homeless man told him to do on a Cleveland street recently: “Draft Manziel.” That’s according to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.
Before last year, a running back had been taken in the first round of every NFL draft since 1967. But it didn’t happen then, and it didn’t happen again this year — ESPN says the 2014 crop “could be the first draft in the Common Draft Era with no running backs drafted in the top 40.”
Instead, this year’s first round featured five wide receivers — and five cornerbacks who will try to stop them.
The draft’s second round will begin at 7 p.m. ET tonight. Here’s the full list of players taken in the first round:
1 Texans: Jadeveon Clowney DE2 Rams: Greg Robinson OT3 Jaguars: Blake Bortles QB4 Bills: Sammy Watkins WR5 Raiders: Khalil Mack OLB6 Falcons: Jake Matthews OT7 Buccaneers: Mike Evans WR8 Browns: Justin Gilbert CB9 Vikings: Anthony Barr OLB10 Lions: Eric Ebron TE11 Titans: Taylor Lewan OT12 Giants: Odell Beckham WR13 Rams: Aaron Donald DT14 Bears: Kyle Fuller CB15 Steelers: Ryan Shazier OLB16 Cowboys: Zack Martin OT17 Ravens: C.J. Mosley ILB18 Jets: Calvin Pryor FS19 Dolphins: Ja’Wuan James OT20 Saints: Brandin Cooks WR21 Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix FS22 Browns: Johnny Manziel QB23 Chiefs: Dee Ford DE24 Bengals: Darqueze Dennard CB25 Chargers: Jason Verrett CB26 Eagles: Marcus Smith DE27 Cardinals: Deone Bucannon SS28 Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin WR29 Patriots: Dominique Easley DT30 49ers: Jimmie Ward SS31 Broncos: Bradley Roby CB32 Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater QB [Copyright 2014 NPR]