32nd Pick: Minnesota Vikings –QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Why not end the night with some fireworks.
The Vikings traded back into the first round, sending a second and fourth round pick to the Seattle Seahawks, and drafted who they hope will be their QB of the future.
Bridgewater is the third quarterback taken in the first round, and while there is some doubt surrounding him, he did throw 31 touchdowns and just four picks in 2013. He’ll bring some excitement to the Vikings, and the selection will likely mean the end to Christian Ponder’s days as the starting quarterback.
Just one more tidbit on the Patriots’ selection of Dominique Easley: According to the Twitterverse (which is ALWAYS right), the Seahawks had their eye on Easley with the 32nd pick. When that wasn’t going to happen, it opened up the door for the trade with the Vikings.
That’s it for Day 1 of the draft, but we’ll be back for all the fun over the next two days!
31st Pick: Denver Broncos –CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos made a splash in the offseason when they signed Aqib Talib, but they got a little depth at the position in drafting Bradley Robey with the 31st pick.
Roby had 69 tackles, three interceptions and two blocked punts in 2013, and was named first-team All-Big Ten.
30th Pick: San Francisco 49ers — S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
Ward led Northern Illinois in tackles (95), interceptions (7) and pass deflections (12) in 2013, and projects to play corner for the 49ers.
29th Pick: New England Patriots — DT Dominique Easley, Florida
The Patriots used their first pick of the draft, selecting Florida defensive tackle Dominque Easley.
Belichick has always been a big fan of players coming out of Florida, and Easley will give them some youth on that defensive line alongside Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly.
There are some concerns for him though, as he suffered two torn ACLs over the last three years.
STRENGTHS: Easley proved a quick-healer after a torn ACL in 2010, by coming back to start 11 games in 2012 and showed versatility, lining up at defensive end. Easley’s tackle numbers dropped overall (26) but he finished with more big plays (8.5 for loss, team-leading four sacks), including 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the Sugar Bowl loss. Easley’s explosiveness off the ball has been among the best in the conference. He also has quick, active hands to slap away blockers and is able to hold up well against the run at this level due to good core strength.
WEAKNESSES: At under 290 pounds, Easley may be considered undersized to be an every-down interior DL at the next level. As with any player who has suffered an ACL tear, there may be questions about durability and long-term health.
And for those that like highlights (meaning everyone):
28th Pick: Carolina Panthers — WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
The biggest receiver in the draft is heading to catch passes from Cam Newton.
The 6-5 Kelvin Benjamin had 54 receptions for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns as a Sophomore in 2013. That includes the biggest catch of the year, a game-winning touchdown against Auburn in the BCS title game with 13 seconds left in the game.
The Patriots are now on the clock! Do they keep the pick or make a trade for some extra selections? We’ll find out very soon.
27th Pick: Arizona Cardinals — S Deone Bucannon, Washington State
The Cardinals have added another young safety to their defense in Deone Bucannon.
He was a first-team All American in 2013, and finished with 384 tackles and 15 interceptions at Washington State.
Bucannon was very emotional when the camera’s showed his draft party. He hasn’t stopped hugging family members, and probably won’t until tomorrow morning.
The Carolina Panthers are on the clock, with the Patriots on deck. We’ll see if they can create a bidding war for the pick or make a selection.
26th Pick: Philadelphia Eagles — DE/LB Marcus Smith, Louisville
The Eagles needed help with the pass-rush, and Chip Kelly addressed that with his first pick of the 2014 draft.
Smith, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, had 42 tackles and 14.5 sacks as a senior in 2013.
The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock now, and could be looking at a quarterback.
25th Pick: San Diego Chargers — CB Jason Verrett, TCU
Another corner is off the board, as the Chargers selected Jason Verett.
Verrett, a former junior college player, was First-Team All Big 10 in 2012 and 2013 and was an All-American in 2013.
The Eagles are on the clock, with the Patriots’ selection four picks away.
24th Pick: Cincinnati Bengals — CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
The Bengals added some youth and physicality to their secondary with their first pick, taking Darqueze Dennard out of Michigan State.
He had four interceptions for the Spartans in 2013 and won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football.
Darqueze is cousins with Patriots corner Alfonzo Dennard.
The San Diego Chargers are now on the clock.
23rd Pick: Kansas City Chiefs — DE Dee Ford, Auburn
Andy Reid loves his defense, and needed someone to put some pressure on Andrew Luck.
They got another pass-rusher to play with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston in Auburn’s Dee Ford.
The 6-2 Ford recorded 19.5 sacks over his collegiate career, and was a All-SEC selection as a senior.
The Cincinnati Bengals are now on the clock.
22nd Pick: Cleveland Browns –QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
The wait is over. Johnny Manziel is a Cleveland Brown.
Johnny Football will bring some excitement to a fan base that needs a boost. He threw for 63 touchdowns and nearly 8,000 yards in his two years with the Aggies, and was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
Manziel had to wait nearly three hours to hear his name tonight, so we’ll see if that gives him a little motivation heading into his pro career.
Browns fans have to hope this trade works out better than the last time they traded up to 22nd, back in 2007 when they drafted Brady Quinn. Brandon Weeden was also the 22nd overall pick by the Browns, so they really need Johnny Football to break that trend.
The Kansas City Chiefs are now on the clock.
10:40 p.m.: The Eagles have traded the 22nd pick to the Cleveland Browns, and it looks like the wait could be over for Johnny Manziel.
21st Pick: Green Bay Packers — S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Unfortunately, a guy named Ha Ha won’t be playing for the Patriots next season.
The Packers were in need of a playmaker in the secondary, and Clinton-Dix should give them that. He led the Crimson Tide with five interceptions in 2012 and had another two in 2013 when he was named an All-American.
The Philadelphia Eagles are now on the clock, as we inch closer to the Patriots at 29.
20th Pick: New Orleans Saints: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Drew Brees has another weapon on offense in receiver Brandin Cooks.
John Gruden said Cooks could be a pro bowler right away, and we know everything Gruden says is gold.
Cooks had a huge junior year for the Beavers, hauling in 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had two 200 yards games last year, and it should be fun watching what he can do with Brees throwing his way in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers are now on the clock.
19th Pick: Miami Dolphins — T Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
The Dolphins’ offensive line was a mess in 2013, on and off the field, so it makes sense that they’d address that need in the first round.
The 6-6, 311-lb James was a four-year starter for the Volunteers.
The Arizona Cardinals are have traded the 20th pick to the New Orleans Saints, so it looks like Johnny Manziel’s wait will continue.
18th Pick: New York Jets — S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
More defense for Rex Ryan and the Jets.
They took Louisville safety Calvin Pryor to add to their rebuilding secondary, one of the hardest hitters in the draft.
Prior totaled 218 tackles, two sacks, seven interceptions, and nine forced fumbles during his three years at Louisville, and will likely get to know the Patriots’ wide receivers this season.
Another AFC East foe of the Patriots, the Miami Dolphins, are now on the clock.
17th Pick: Baltimore Ravens — LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
It took some time, but we have our first member of the Crimson Tide joining the NFL.
The Ravens are hoping C.J. Mosley can be their next great linebacker. He led Bama in tackles in 2013 with 108 (after leading them with 107 the season prior), and was the team’s MVP in 2012.
Up next are the New York Jets. This should be fun.
16th Pick: Dallas Cowboys — G Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Sorry, Johnny Football. You have to wait a little longer.
The Cowboys didn’t give (most) people the QB drama they were begging for, and decided to give Tony Romo some more protection by drafting guard Zach Martin.
The 6-4 Martin was a two-time captain for the Irish, and set a school record for starts by an offensive lineman with 52. He was named the 2013 MVP of the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl for Notre Dame.
The Baltimore Ravens are now on the clock.
15th Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers — LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
The Steelers got a very aggressive linebacker, selecting Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State.
As a junior, Shazier started 14 games for the Buckeyes, recording 144 tackles and seven sacks and earning All-American honors.
Let the drama begin. The Dallas Cowboys are on the clock, and Johnny Manziel is just sitting there waiting to get a phone call. We’ll see if Jerry Jones pulls the trigger on this one.
Unfortunately, ESPN hasn’t turned on the Tony Romo camera.
14th Pick: Chicago Bears — CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
With Jared Allen brought in via free agency to help the pass-rush, the Bears are hoping to add a boost to their secondary with corner Kyle Fuller. One of the Hokies’ four captains last year, Fuller played nine games and recorded 24 tackles and two picks.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are now on the clock.
13th Pick: St. Louis Rams — DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
The Rams went offensive line with their first pick of the first round, and went defensive line with their second.
Donald is a beast on the line, registering 59 tackles and 11 sacks in 2013. For his efforts, he was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous All-American.
In his four years at Pitt, Donald finished with 181 total tackles, 29.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 51 games.
Meanwhile, Johnny Football sits and waits:
He may have changed from water to something else with all this waiting.
12th Pick: New York Giants — WR Odell Beckham, LSU
Eli Manning has another weapon on his side, as the Giants selected LSU wide out Odell Beckham. The six-foot Beckham had 59 receptions in 2013 for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns.
Beckham gives the Giants a very good playmaker both in the passing game and on special teams as a kick returner. He’ll take over for Hakim Nicks, who signed with the Colts in the offseason.
Giants fans in attendance weren’t too pleased with the pick.
The St. Louis Rams are once again on the clock.
11th Pick: Tennessee Titans — OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
The Titans have taken offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, hoping he can help protect Jake Locker. The Titans are pretty deep on the line after signing Michael Oher in the offseason, but they’ll find somewhere for the 6-7 Lewan.
Lewan enters the NFL with plenty of college honors, as he was named Big Ten Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.
The New York Giants are now on the clock.
10th Pick: Detroit Lions –TE Eric Ebron, UNC
The Lions are surrounding quarterback Matt Stafford with another weapon, selecting tight end Eric Ebron out of North Carolina.
The 6-4 Ebron, another tight end-wide/receiver hybrid, had eight touchdowns in his three seasons at UNC, catching 102 passes for over 1,800 yards. As long as Stafford can get him the ball, and not the opposition, the Lions should score a ton of points again. But they’er still a mess on defense, so they have more work to do.
We’re through the Top 10 and somewhere Nick Saban is crying, because for the first time since 2008 there were no Alabama players taken in the Top 10.
The Tennessee Titans are now on the clock.
9th Pick: Minnesota Vikings — LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
The Vikings went defense with their first pick, drafting linebacker Anthony Barr.
The 6-4 Barr was first team all Pac-10 the last two seasons.
8th Pick: Cleveland Browns — CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
The Browns traded, but they didn’t draft quarterback Johnny Manziel like many were speculating.
Instead they went defense, drafting corner Justin Gilbert. He had seven interceptions in 2013, including one in OK State’s Cotton Bowl loss.
He’ll look great in the Cleveland secondary with Joe Haden, and the Browns also picked up another first and fourth round pick for next year.
The Vikings are now on the clock, and they also could use a quarterback.
7th Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers — WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Make it two Aggies in a row at the NFL Draft.
The Bucs went wide receiver with their pick, drafting 6-5 Mike Evans. Alongside Vincent Jackson, who is also 6-5, the Bucs could give opposing secondaries some nightmares.
Time will tell if it’s Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, or someone else throwing them the football.
6th Pick: Atlanta Falcons — OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
In hopes of keeping Matt Ryan standing this season, the Falcons selected tackle Jake Matthews.
All 308-lbs of Matthews will play right away for Atlanta after starting all four years at Texas A&M.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock now. Johnny Manziel looks a little nervous…
5th Pick: Oakland Raiders — LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
The Raiders, likely upset that Watkins was off the board, actually selected a defensive player!
Oakland landed themselves a solid player on defense, as Mack recorded 75 tackles for loss over his four years at Buffalo.
The Atlanta Falcons are now on the clock.
4th Pick: Buffalo Bills — WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
The Bills just got a very good weapon for second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel, drafting receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall.
One of the more exciting playmakers in the draft, the 6-1 Watkins finished his three years at Clemson with 27 touchdowns. He caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 scores in 2013.
The Patriots will play against Watkins twice this season, and he may find himself with a pair of reservations for Revis Island in his rookie season.
The Oakland Raiders are now on the clock.
8:35 p.m.: Shortly after the first quarterback of the night was selected, the first trade of the evening was announce.
The Cleveland Browns traded the fourth overall pick to the Buffalo Bills, and get the 9th overall pick, and a first and fourth rounder in 2015 in return.
3rd Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars — QB Blake Bortles, UCF
The Jaguars finally have a quarterback from Florida, but it’s not Tim Tebow.
The Jags took Blake Bortles third overall, who threw 25 touchdowns for the Knights in 2013 and finished his three-year stay at UCF with 56 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Jacksonville hasn’t had much luck when it comes to the quarterback position in years past, so we’ll see if Bortles can break that trend. Either that or we never hear from him within the next few years. That’s just life as a Jacksonville Jaguars fan.
The Cleveland Browns are now on the clock.
2nd Pick: St. Louis Rams — OL Greg Robinson, Auburn
The RGIII trade keeps on giving back to the St. Louis Rams.
With the second overall pick, the Rams drafted 6-5, 332-lb tackle Greg Robinson. Time will tell if he’ll be blocking for Sam Bradford, or if St. Louis takes a quarterback with one of their 11 remaining picks. They’ll be up again at 13th overall with their own pick.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are now on the clock.
1st Pick: Houston Texans — DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
New Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel have a new defensive toy to work with, as they have selected defensive end Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina first overall.
The 6-6, 266-pound Clowney is a beast on the field, but there are questions about his attitude and drive off of it. He had a monster 2012 season with 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for a loss, but a slew of injuries – and issues– kept him to just 3.5 sacks in 2013.
But the Texans needed someone who can get after the quarterback alongside J.J. Watt, especially with two annual meetings with the Colts and Andrew Luck, and Clowney fits that bill.
For a local perspective on this pick, here is what former Patriots’ linebacker Willie McGinest said of Clowney at the team’s draft part at Gillette Stadium prior to the selection:
“We’ve seen a lot of really talented players come through the league,” McGinest said. “I think he’s exceptional talent-wise. I just don’t know if he really loves the game of football and how much he’s really going to put into day in, day out — what it really takes to be a true professional.”
So Willie isn’t a fan of the pick.
The St. Louis Rams are now on the clock.
8:05 p.m.: The NFL Draft is underway in New York!
The Houston Texans are officially on the clock with the first overall pick. Each team has 10 minutes to make their selection tonight, though Houston has had plenty of time to think about this one following their 2-14 season.
7:32 p.m.: The top prospects are being introduced, and we’re just under 30 minutes away from the Texans officially being on the clock.
And when that happens, they will be making a selection according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter reported earlier that any trade talk for the first overall pick has ended, and Houston is locked in on a certain player. We’ll know soon if that is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker Khalil Mack or any of the big name quarterbacks.
7:10 p.m.: While the focus in the Boston area will be on Game 4 of the Bruins-Canadiens series, there’s still a little thing called the NFL Draft taking place tonight.
It’s that time of the year when some NFL teams will try to lay the foundation of what they hope becomes a Super Bowl contender, while others will simply focus on filling out the depth of their roster. Thursday night is just the first round, as the draft has evolved into a three-night event with a whole lot of hype and analysis. It’s become a bit of a reality show for the NFL, and the constant coverage leading up is sometimes unbearable, but the bottom line is the draft is the first step for 256 kids fulfilling what was likely a lifelong dream.
And this year, they even get to walk up to the music of their choice. Does it get any better?
The Houston Texans will be on the clock first, while the New England Patriots won’t pick until 29th in Thursday evening’s first round, which gets underway at 8 pm. That’s IF the Patriots make their pick, with many experts thinking there’s a good chance New England will once again trade out of the first round.
Given their winning ways over the last decade, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are used to selecting at the end of the first round. They know how it works: sit tight and wait to see if there’s a run at a certain position late in the round, and if a team comes calling and is willing to trade a few lower round picks, make the deal. They did it last year with the 29th pick, swapping it with the Minnesota Vikings for a second (Jamie Collins), third (Logan Ryan), fourth (Josh Boyce) and seventh round pick (sent to Tampa in the Legarrette Blount trade).
If no teams come calling or no trade appeals to them, the Patriots will take the best player on the board that fills a need and hope they can follow in the steps of other late first-round picks like Logan Mankins (32nd overall in 2005) and Devin McCourty (27th in 2010).
That’s not to say they won’t see someone they like early on and trade up (as they did it twice in 2012), but it’s more likely New England fans will wake up tomorrow to additional picks instead of a new name to learn.
So while you enjoy the Bruins-Canadiens, we’ll bring you all of the first-round selections, some analysis, and keep our eyes out for any possible trades by the Patriots throughout the evening. CBS Local Sports will also bring you behind the scenes with a live stream of their NFL Draft Party from the 40/40 club in New York City from 10pm to midnight, and 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones will be on air when the Patriots make (or trade) their selection — barring a multi-overtime Bruins game, of course.
MORE PATRIOTS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON