There were many teams in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft that came up big with blockbuster trades and marquee selections, and the overall results of this year’s event were as unpredictable as ever.
From the Houston Texans selecting Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 overall to the Minnesota Vikings taking Teddy Bridgewater No. 32, there wasn’t a dull moment in the entire first round.
Here are the full first-round results and grades for every selection.
|1||Houston Texans||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina||A|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn||A|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Blake Bortles||QB||UCF||C|
|4||Buffalo Bills||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson||B|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo||A|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M||A|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M||B|
|8||Cleveland Browns||Justin Gilbert||CB||Oklahoma State||B|
|9||Minnesota Vikings||Anthony Barr||OLB||UCLA||C|
|10||Detroit Lions||Eric Ebron||TE||North Carolina||B|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Taylor Lewan||OT||Michigan||C|
|12||New York Giants||Odell Beckham Jr.||WR||LSU||B|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Aaron Donald||DT||Pittsburgh||B|
|14||Chicago Bears||Kyle Fuller||CB||Virginia Tech||C|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Ryan Shazier||OLB||Ohio State||C|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Zack Martin||OL||Notre Dame||B|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||C.J. Mosley||ILB||Alabama||A|
|18||New York Jets||Calvin Pryor||S||Louisville||A|
|19||Miami Dolphins||Ja'Wuan James||OT||Tennessee||C|
|20||New Orleans Saints||Brandin Cooks||WR||Oregon State||A|
|21||Green Bay Packers||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||S||Alabama||B|
|22||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M||B|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Dee Ford||DE||Auburn||C|
|24||Cincinnati Bengals||Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State||B|
|25||San Diego Chargers||Jason Verrett||CB||TCU||B|
|26||Philadelphia Eagles||Marcus Smith||OLB||Louisville||C|
|27||Arizona Cardinals||Deone Bucannon||S||Washington State||C|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Kelvin Benjamin||WR||Florida State||B|
|29||New England Patriots||Dominique Easley||DT||Florida||C|
|30||San Francisco 49ers||Jimmie Ward||S||Northern Illinois||B|
|31||Denver Broncos||Bradley Roby||CB||Ohio State||C|
|32||Minnesota Vikings||Teddy Bridgewater||QB||Louisville||C|
Biggest Risk of the Night: Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills traded up to take Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall, but the cost of the move has many fans concerned.
There is no questioning the raw talent of Watkins, but the franchise gave Cleveland the No. 9 overall pick this year, and 2015 first- and fourth-round picks.
That is a high price to pay for moving up just five positions.
While the trade was a bit lopsided, Buffalo made the deal in order to acquire a bona fide game-changer. With elite speed, reliable hands and a tenacity that will be infectious, the Bills have added a hard-nosed player who will help change the culture of the offensive unit.
Watkins is a star, and Buffalo did what it took to ensure he was on its depth chart.
After being drafted in the top five, Watkins shred his joy on Twitter:
Bless to be apart of a great organization #BillsMafia— Sammy Watkins (@sammywatkins) May 9, 2014
For those football fans still trying to comprehend why the Bills would make such a risky move to acquire a wide receiver like Watkins, ESPN's Adam Schefter reminded everyone just how highly touted this player was coming into the draft:
A handful of teams had Bills WR Sammy Watkins as the No. 1 player on their board.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 9, 2014
Rumors were flying about which direction Buffalo would go on draft day, but as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reveals, the Bills likely knew the whole time what the game plan would be and which player they were targeting:
#Bills president Russ Brandon kept telling WR Sammy Watkins they would draft him. Whatever, not at 10. But Brandon knew what was up.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 9, 2014
As much as the excitement from fans and experts will have Buffalo supporters excited about Watkins as a player, the undeniable anticipation from his new teammates on Twitter should have this team ready for training camp:
Fired up to get @sammywatkins in Buffalo! A guy that makes us better instantly— Eric Wood (@EWood70) May 9, 2014
Watkins is one of the most talented players in this draft and will make an instant impact in the NFL. As a track star in high school, Watkins has been able to utilize that speed on the football field by taking the lid off defenses.
Add in his soft hands and ability to catch the ball at its highest point, even through traffic, and Watkins is the difference-maker that can help EJ Manuel blossom into the star the franchise expected when it drafted him.
With Watkins causing havoc alongside another speedster like C.J. Spiller, the Bills will boast a fast-paced offensive unit that will challenge the other teams in the AFC East.
Overall Grade: B
*Stats via NFL.com.