That brief moment of excitement I feel each year when preparing to watch the NFL Draft doesn’t linger for too long. I’m usually ready to channel surf or dip in and out of the room by the eighth pick. But this year I realized it’s all in the way you approach it.
I spent much of the draft last night in a recliner with a laptop, smartphone and remote control nearby. First thing I realized was that ESPN has been ruining this event for me for years. It wasn’t until I committed to the NFL Network’s broadcast that I no longer had the urge to throw my television through a wall due to the rabid jaw-flapping.
Then I got caught up in the information overload world of Twitter and Facebook, reading and responding to online posts about fan’s draft triumphs and despair, with plenty of doses of humor thrown in at each other’s expense.
It all helped to keep the suspense at just the right level as each selection, trade and camera shot of each prospect paced the night. It also got me thinking about where these players actually came from – where they were raised – outside of their respective colleges.
On Thursday night Texas A&M and Louisville each had three players selected in the first round of the draft. Auburn, Ohio State and Alabama each had two, meaning 20 other Division I programs also produced NFL players in 2014’s first round.
Compare that number with the actual home states of each player and the numbers differ in a major way.
Of the 32 players taken, nine played high school football in the state of Florida. Texas and California each accounted for four former prep football players while Alabama (3), Georgia (3) and Louisiana (2) were the only other states that could claim more than one. That’s 25 players from just six of the 13 states that had a former high school football player drafted.
Thursday’s first round results with player’s position, college and high school information posted below.
1) Houston – DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) – South Pointe High School, S.C.
2) St. Louis – OT Greg Robinson (Auburn) – Thibodaux High School, La.
3) Jacksonville – QB Blake Bortles (UCF) – Oviedo High School, Fla.
4) Buffalo – WR Sammy Watkins (Clemson) – South Fort Myers High School, Fla.
5) Oakland – LB Khalil Mack (Buffalo) – Westwood High School, Fla.
6) Atlanta – OT Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) – Elkins High School, Tex.
7) Tampa Bay – WR Mike Evans (Texas A&M) – Galveston Ball High School, Tex.
8) Cleveland – CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State) – Huntsville High School, Tex.
9) Minnesota – LB Anthony Barr (UCLA) – Los Angeles Loyola High School, Cal.
10) Detroit – TE Eric Ebron (North Carolina) – Smith High School, N.C.
11) Tennessee – OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan) – Chaparral High School, Ariz.
12) NY Giants – Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU) – Isidore Newman High School, La.
13) St. Louis – DT Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh) – Penn Hills High School, Pa.
14) Chicago – CB Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) – Mount St. Joseph High School, Md.
15) Pittsburgh – LB Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) – Plantation High School, Fla.
16) Dallas – OT Zack Martin (Notre Dame) – Bishop Chatard High School, Ind.
17) Baltimore – LB C.J. Mosley (Alabama) – Theodore High School, Ala.
18) NY Jets – S Calvin Pryor (Louisville) – Port St. Joe High School, Fla.
19) Miami – OT Ja’Wuan James (Tennessee) – North Gwinnett High School, Fla.
20) New Orleans – WR Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) – Lincoln High School, Cal.
21) Green Bay – S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) – Orlando Dr. Phillips High School, Fla.
22) Cleveland – QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) – Kerryville Tivy High School, Tex.
23) Kansas City – DE Dee Ford (Auburn) – St. Clair County High School, Ala.
24) Cincinnati – CB Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State) – Twiggs County High School, Ga.
25) San Diego – CB Jason Verrett (TCU) – Rodriquez High School, Cal.
26) Philadelphia – LB Marcus Smith (Louisville) – Hardaway High School, Ga.
27) Arizona – S Deone Bucannon (Washington State) – Vanden High School, Cal.
28) Carolina – WR Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State) – Glades Central High School, Fla.
29) New England – DT Dominique Easley (Florida) – Curtis High School, NY
30) San Francisco – S Jimmie Ward (Northern Illinois) – Davidson High School, Ala.
31) Denver – CB Bradley Roby (Ohio State) – Peachtree Ridge High School, Ga.
32) Minnesota – QB Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) – Miami Northwestern High School, Fla.