As sensational as the buildup was for the 2014 NFL draft, it more than lived up to the bill.
Several teams shifted around the board; others made shocking selections—the Cleveland Browns did both.
The first round always comes with plenty of surprises. Whether it was Johnny Manziel falling out of the top 10 or Blake Bortles going to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 overall, the excitement continued in the 2014 draft.
With the opening round finally coming to a close, here's a look at the biggest storylines emerging after Thursday night.
|1.||Texans||Jadeveon Clowney||DE/OLB||South Carolina|
|2.||Rams (from WSH)||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|
|6.||Falcons||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M|
|7.||Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|8.||Browns*||Justin Gilbert||CB||Oklahoma State|
|10.||Lions||Eric Ebron||TE||North Carolina|
|12.||Giants||Odell Beckham Jr.||WR||LSU|
|14.||Bears||Kyle Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech|
|15.||Steelers||Ryan Shazier||OLB||Ohio State|
|16.||Cowboys||Zack Martin||OG/OT||Notre Dame|
|20.||Saints*||Brandin Cooks||WR||Oregon State|
|22.||Browns*||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|24.||Bengals||Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State|
|26.||Eagles* (from IND)||Marcus Smith||DE/OLB||Louisville|
|27.||Cardinals*||Deone Bucannon||SS||Washington State|
|28.||Panthers||Kelvin Benjamin||WR||Florida State|
|30.||49ers||Jimmie Ward||SS||Northern Illinois|
|31.||Broncos||Bradley Roby||CB||Ohio State|
NFL Network (* indicates trade)
Manziel Slides To Bottom of First Round
In a draft class where the top-tier quarterbacks were all slated to go in the first five picks, just one heard his name called.
Surprisingly, that player was not Johnny Manziel. The Texas A&M quarterback fell out of the top 20, but landed with a team that needed a signal-caller, the Cleveland Browns.
As Jeff Darlington of NFL.com points out, his offensive coordinator makes a perfect fit as well:
You'll hate on this tweet, guaranteed, but Browns OC Kyle Shanahan and Johnny Manziel will be great for each other in Cleveland.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) May 9, 2014
Kyle Shanahan was recently the coordinator with Robert Griffin III. Though the pairing didn't work out as well during Year 2, Shanahan has a system that's built for a signal-caller like Manziel.
Though the Browns haven't been a successful franchise in years, Manziel believes he will buck that trend, per USA Today:
"I've been a winner everywhere I've been. I'm going to put myself in the position to continue that trend" - Manziel http://t.co/rqfZ68t8GE— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) May 9, 2014
Now that Johnny Cleveland is ready to take over the throne, the hope is that he can find more success than the previous first-round picks for the team.
Browns Win the First Round
Let's be honest, the Browns never make the right decisions. And early in the first round, this year appeared to be business as usual.
After moving back to the No. 9 pick, the Browns then traded up to No. 8 to select Justin Gilbert. That selection didn't look like the trendy one at the time, but another crucial trade later in the draft led to getting Mr. Football at 22nd overall.
Surprisingly enough, that is a familiar pick for quarterbacks in Cleveland, per ESPN Stats and Info:
Johnny Manziel goes 22 overall to the Browns. Brandon Weeden and Brady Quinn went 22nd overall to the Browns as well. #CLEpick— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 9, 2014
The hope for Browns fans is that Manziel doesn't wind up like the other signal-callers.
Manziel will be the player making headlines for Cleveland, but Gilbert is a huge one as well. Selecting Gilbert gives Cleveland two lockdown corners with Joe Haden on one side of the defense already.
Texans Have Their Cake and Eat It, Too
Which storyline was the most intriguing?
Selecting Jadeveon Clowney was the only guaranteed pick of the night, and the Houston Texans made it.
Apart from that, Houston's night was pretty much over. But Day 2 brings prosperity as well for the team, which holds the keys to the first overall selection in the second round.
After Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater were taken off the board, the pressure is now on for teams to grab potential franchise quarterbacks. Therefore, the Texans can either trade the pick or grab a signal-caller of their own.
Much like in the first round, the Texans have time to figure out exactly what they want to do. With names like A.J. McCarron, Jimmy Garoppolo and Zach Mettenberger still available, Houston is once again on the clock.
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