After the months of speculation, and after all of the rumors about which direction they would go, the Houston Texans kept it simple with the Number One pick in the NFL Draft.
“With the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select Jadeveon Clowney,” Commissioner Roger Goodell announced to the crowd gathered in New York City.
The defensive lineman from South Carolina was widely regarded as the draft's most talented player, and he told Sports Talk 790's Lance Zierlein he's relieved it's all over.
“It’s a blessing. A lot of guys don’t get to go through this process. I’m glad I was chosen as the first pick in the draft,” Clowney stated.
And the newest Texan is ready to get on the field.
“I’m ready to work and learn this game,” Clowney said.
Texans general manager Rick Smith is happy to have Clowney on board and playing opposite of superstar JJ Watt.
“He’s an impact player,” Smith explained. “We’re very excited about what he can add to the organization, football team, community and defense.”
Most Texans fans, analysts happy with pick
The drafting of Clowney made many fans of the team happy after a 2-14 season. But that happiness wasn’t unanimous. Some wanted to see Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M star, wind up in Houston, 90 miles away from where he became a star in college.
“I just think they made a big mistake. They just don’t have a good quarterback,” one fan told KTRH. “I think Houston needs a quarterback. I think all the bad mouthing of Manziel was way overdone.”
But that fan was in the minority.
“I’m excited,” one fan told out television partner, Local 2. “We got what we needed.”
Another fan said, “It was a good pick.”
And yet another said, “I was pumped. That’s the guy I wanted the whole time.”
Many of the experts thought the Texans did the right thing by taking Clowney, including Greg Koch of Sports Talk 790.
“You put him and Watt together with Brian Cushing coming back healthy and I’m telling you this will be a defense to contend with,” Koch said. “You look at what Clowney did as a sophomore. Teams game planned for him like they game plan for J.J. Watt.”
PODCAST (below): Houston's Morning News with Matt Patrick welcomes Lance Zierlein, with Sports Talk 790, to discuss the Houston Texans top NFL 2014 Draft Pick Jadeveon "The Big Hit" Clowney. Zierlein shares on his position and how he should be lining up.
Manziel forced to wait
After the Texans passed on Manziel, many fans were wondering where he’d wind up. In recent weeks the 2012 Heisman winner had slid down mock drafts. And when the real draft came around, he had to get picked. Jacksonville passed on him. So did Oakland and Minnesota. His wait finally came to an end when the Cleveland Browns selected him at No. 22.
“I was very happy to hear those words and get that call. It was a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Manziel said. “It’s great for me to end up with a team that has fans that are as passionate as I am on the field.”
But Cleveland’s history of taking quarterbacks in the first round hasn’t worked since they re-entered the league in 1999. Kentucky’s Tim Couch was a bust. So was Brady Quinn, who was selected from Notre Dame seven years ago. Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden was taken by Cleveland in the first round two years ago and also didn’t pan out for a team that is starting the 2014 season with a new general manager in Ray Farmer and coach in Mike Pettine.
Manziel was not the first quarterback taken in the draft. Blake Bortles was selected by the Jaguars with the third pick. Jacksonville had been rumored to be interested in a quarterback, but Manziel was the one they had been connected to during the pre-draft process.
Manziel was also not the first Aggie selected. Offensive lineman Jake Matthews went to the Atlanta Falcons with the sixth overall pick. Wide receiver Mike Evans went off the board one pick later, to Tampa Bay.
Texans still looking for quarterback
The Texans will have the first pick in the second round of the draft tonight. After trading Matt Schaub to the Raiders, they are looking for their next franchise quarterback. There are still a number of options on the board.
Derek Carr from Fresno State was considered as a likely first round pick, but the younger brother of original Texan David Carr was not selected in the first round.
Other options include Zach Mettenberger of LSU, Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage and Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois.