Jadeveon Clowney already eyes Hall of Fame
Houston snap up defensive lineman as first pick in NFL draft, but hyped Johnny Manziel is made to wait
The Houston Texans chose defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in the NFL draft, while much-vaunted quarterback Johnny Manziel had to wait until No 22 to get selected.
There had been criticism of Clowney's work ethic last season when playing at college level for South Carolina, and questions about whether the Texans would hold or trade the No 1 slot, but ultimately Houston went with the powerful defensive lineman.
"I've just been proving a lot of people wrong throughout my life," Clowney said.
"Growing up, I grew up hard. I always said I'm going to do something great. Hopefully, I'm going to be a Hall of Famer one day."
Manziel sat with a sullen look on his face until Cleveland made their third trade of the round and selected the Texas A&M quarterback, who won the 2012 Heisman Trophy as college football's best player.
"If you call it a slide, I wouldn't call it that at all," he said.
"I was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. It's a great story. It's great for me to end up there, at a team that has fans as passionate as I am on the field."
Manziel's wait added suspense after the Texans took their time selecting Clowney.
Teams normally announce the No 1 pick in advance, and Houston's failure to do so had prompted speculation they had soured on the defensive end.
Clowney, 21, brings size, speed and power to a line-up who have 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt.
However his diligence had been questioned after he slipped from 13 sacks to just three last year. Critics said he was protecting himself from injury in his junior year before declaring early for the draft.
He is the first defensive player taken first overall since Houston selected another end, Mario Williams, in 2006. Williams is now with Buffalo.
Houston also made the top pick in their first season, 2002, taking quarterback David Carr. He never lived up to that billing; the Texans hope Clowney has more of an impact.
Tackle Greg Robinson, whose blocking helped Auburn make the national college championship game last season, went second to St Louis.
The Rams owned the pick as the final payment for a 2012 trade with Washington that allowed the Redskins to draft quarterback Robert Griffin.
The first quarterback to go went to Jacksonville in the third slot, but it was not "Johnny Football" Manziel.
Instead it was Blake Bortles of Central Florida, whose stock shot up last season and in subsequent workouts. Bortles has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger because of his combination of size and mobility.
"He's a down-to-earth guy, a self-made guy, a blue-collar guy and he wants to be the best he can be," said Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell. "He just needs a bit of time."
Buffalo traded up to selection No 4 by sending a first and fourth-round pick in next year's draft to Cleveland. That enabled the Bills to grab playmaking receiver Sammy Watkins, of Clemson.
"Dynamic playmaker, and that's what this game is all about," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said of Watkins.
"He's automatically going to make our quarterback [EJ Manuel] better."