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'Johnny Football' made to sweat as Clowney picked first at NFL Draft

Manziel was only the second quarter-back selected in the annual cherry-pick of college football’s finest.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney holds up the jersey for the Houston Texans beside NFL's Roger Goddell.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney holds up the jersey for the Houston Texans beside NFL's Roger Goddell.
Image: AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

JADEVEON CLOWNEY IS the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The South Carolina defensive end was the first collegiate star called out from a talented pool of players that included Johnny Manziel and Greg Robinson.

The Houston Texans took Clowney to kick off the first round of a draft viewed as one one of the deepest in recent history, with a surplus of talented American college stars at almost every position. Clowney was chosen ahead of Auburn offensive tackle Robinson, who was taken number two by the St. Louis Rams.

The first big surprise came one pick later when Central Florida’s Blake Bortles became the first quarterback drafted ahead of Texas A&M’s Manziel, who has already trademarked the name ‘Johnny Football’. The Jacksonville Jaguars made Bortles the first quarterback at number three, passing on a chance to select former Heisman Trophy [for top college footballer] winner Manziel.

Cleveland eventually put Manziel out of his misery and selected him as the 22nd overall pick, sparking ‘dollar bill’ celebrations from the QB and Twitter celebrations from Browns fan, and PGA champion, Jason Dufner.

The draft features all 32 NFL teams choosing players over three days. The first round is Thursday, the second and third rounds are Friday and the fourth to seventh rounds are Saturday. Teams select players in the reverse order they finished in the standings, meaning the last place club gets the coveted first pick.

The US colleges are the biggest supplier of players to the NFL and the entry draft is the most common player recruitment tool for the league.

Defence is, once again king

Houston’s pick ended a seven-year streak of offensive players being selected first since the Texans took defensive end Mario Williams to start the 2006 draft. Clowney was the first South Carolina player picked number-one overall since 1981 when the New Orleans Saints took running back George Rogers.

The 6ft 6in lineman had 24 sacks in three years for South Carolina, including 13 in 2012. Clowney finished sixth in voting for the Heisman. He will join all-star defensive end J.J. Watt in what may turn out to be a fearsome pass rush for a team that finished last season on a franchise-worst 14-game losing skid.

NFL Draft Football Johnny Manziel is off to Cleveland. Source: Frank Franklin II

The Buffalo Bills traded up five places to take Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins at number four in a deal with the Browns. The Bills had to give up their first round pick in 2015 as part of the trade. The Oakland Raiders rounded out the top five picks by taking Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the man with the best name in the 2014 NFL Draft was selected by the Green Bay Packers and told his Twitter followers he was ‘happy to be a Cheese Head’.

- © AFP, 2014 with additional reporting by Patrick McCarry

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