NEW YORK — The players selected in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night.
No. 1 Houston Texans: JADEVEON CLOWNEY, South Carolina. (6-foot-6, 266 pounds). He is first defender to go No. 1 overall since Mario Williams in 2006. Production fell off after spectacular sophomore season for defensive end. Finished last season with 11½ tackles for loss and three sacks after getting 23½ and 13 in 2012. Most talented and athletically gifted player in draft. Blazing fast for size. Moves fluidly. Plays with power, gets off line quickly and can chase down running backs from sideline to sideline. Some questions about playing with consistently high effort and he needs to develop more pass rushing technique.
No. 2 St. Louis Rams: GREG ROBINSON, Auburn (6-5, 332). Two-year starter at left tackle who became dominant player as junior last year. Checks all boxes with size, athleticism and power.
No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars: BLAKE BORTLES, UCF (6-5, 232). Blossomed into one of college football’s best quarterbacks last year, leading Central Florida to the most successful season in the history of the program. Has drawn comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger because of his combination of size and mobility. Some questions about his ability to throw deep accurately after playing in an offense that featured many short passes and quick throws.
No. 4 Buffalo Bills: The Bills traded up and grabbed SAMMY WATKINS, Clemson (6-1, 211). Spectacular freshman and junior seasons, sandwiched around so-so sophomore year when he was hampered by suspension and injury. Clemson’s career leader in receptions (240) and yards receiving (3,391). Big-time speed and good hands. Runs tough and with power after catch. There’s not much to complain about, maybe better route running, but that goes for most receivers coming into NFL.
No. 5 Oakland Raiders: KHALIL MACK, Buffalo (6-3, 251). Four-year starter who became one of best linebackers in country. Last season had 10½ sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles and scored two touchdowns. Potential every-down linebacker with an ability to be fierce pass rusher and sideline-to-sideline force. Hard hitter and excellent athlete. Only knock was a few lackluster performances and at times he seemed to try too hard to make big plays.
No. 6 Atlanta Falcons: JAKE MATTHEWS, Texas A&M (6-5, 308). Son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. Became starter during freshman season. Played right tackle as sophomore and junior and moved to left as senior after Luke Joeckel moved on to NFL. Strong and technically sound. Only question: will be a top-notch pro or merely good?
No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: MIKE EVANS, Texas A&M (6-5, 231). In two seasons playing with Johnny Manziel, Evans had 151 catches, 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns. Huge, Calvin Johnson-type receiver, though he doesn’t quite have Megatron speed. Was nearly impossible for college cornerbacks to stop one-on-one on deep balls.
No. 8 Cleveland Browns: The Browns traded up one spot with Minnesota and got JUSTIN GILBERT, Oklahoma State (6-0, 202). Had five interceptions as sophomore, none as junior and seven last season. Returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2013. Cornerback finished career with six kickoff return touchdowns. Good size and closing speed. Playmaker when he gets ball. Could make immediate impact as return man. Tackling and run support need work and sometimes he makes mistakes trying to make big play, but he’s got lock-down ability.
No. 9 Minnesota Vikings: ANTHONY BARR, UCLA (6-5, 255). Moved from offense to defense after two years in college and finished with 23½ sacks in two seasons playing outside linebacker in 3-4 defense. Fast first step and explosive pass rusher. Speed and quickness player. Strength and power need improvement. Feel for game and ability to read plays is still developing.
No. 10. Detroit Lions: ERIC EBRON, North Carolina (6-4, 250). Breakout junior season with 62 catches for 973 yards, breaking ACC record for yards by tight end held by Vernon Davis at Maryland. Exceptional athlete, combining size, speed, quickness and sticky hands. Blocking needs work and needs to play at his best more consistently, but could be next matchup nightmare tight end in NFL.
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