We all tuned into the NFL Draft and, somewhere between Jadeveon Clowney going first as expected and the story of a homeless guy who apparently made the decision to select Johnny Manziel, an entertaining television spectacle finally broke out. But one thing didn't change from most recent drafts: The SEC dominated once again.
Clowney led the class, with his decision to play football instead of sitting out this year mysteriously not affecting his stock in the least. He's headed to the Houston Texans, which is probably not a bad set-up for the most highly-touted player to come out of South Carolina since George Rogers. The Top 10 featured three other players from the SEC, all on offense: OL Greg Robinson of Auburn went to the Rams after St. Louis traded up to the second spot; Texas A&M's Jake Matthews went to the Falcons' offensive line with the sixth pick; and his teammate, wideout Mike Evans, was taken seventh by the Buccaneers.
Seven more SEC players also made the first-round cut, giving the conference 11 players among the first 32 taken. The SEC West beat every other conference. The ACC was next with five picks in the first round, followed by the Big Ten and the Athletic with four each. The Pac-12 had three, the Big 12 and the MAC each had two and one player was selected from Notre Dame.
The biggest bit of drama for an SEC player, if you want to call it that, came when Johnny Manziel fell out of the Top 10 -- where it's fair to say many people expected him to go -- and then kept falling. He finally ended up being taken at No. 22, when the Eagles traded their pick to the Browns. That gave Texas A&M three picks in the first round -- more than any other SEC team, an honor that usually goes to the likes of LSU or Alabama.
The downside of that became clear when Sal Paolantonio reported one of the most bizarre tidbits I've ever seen in the patently bizarre NFL Draft: The Browns were convinced to draft Manziel when a homeless man told them to do so. Suddenly, we can all understand what has happened to Cleveland football over the last 15 years.
The thing that stands out about the SEC players selected in the draft: Six of them were offensive players. And that's before any of the five senior quarterbacks we highlighted were chosen.
You know it was a record-setting year offensively in SEC when have more draft picks on O than D (so far).— Chuck Dunlap (@SEC_Chuck) May 9, 2014
Some of the those seniors will come off the board on Friday, as will a series of other SEC players. The national title streak might be over, but the NFL still likes what it sees when it looks South.
|SEC First-Round Draft Picks|
|1||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina Gamecocks||Houston Texans|
|2||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn Tigers||St. Louis Rams|
|6||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M Aggies||Atlanta Falcons|
|7||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M Aggies||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|12||Odell Beckham Jr.
||WR||LSU Tigers||New York Giants|
|13||C.J. Mosley||LB||Alabama Crimson Tide||Baltimore Ravens|
|19||Ja'Wuan James||OT||Tennessee Volunteers||Miami Dolphins|
|21||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||FS||Alabama Crimson Tide||Green Bay Packers|
|22||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M Aggies||Cleveland Browns|
|23||Dee Ford||DE||Auburn Tigers||Kansas City Chiefs|
|29||Dominique Easley||DT||Florida Gators||New England Patriots|