The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft certainly was filled with drama and excitement.
It started simply enough, with the likely top pick going to Houston. But as the trades started to roll in and teams started to move with more urgency for the right players, things got even more exciting.
With Day 1 now in the books, here are some of the highlights from the first round of the Draft.
Round 1, Pick 1: Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE – He was projected to go first overall all along and he did. Clowney was the piece that the Texans were happy to welcome. While there was some noise leading up to the Draft about how Houston was trying to trade out of the top pick, they added an incredible compliment piece to J.J. Watt defensively.
Round 1, Pick 3: Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB – In one of more surprising picks of the round, the Jaguars pounced on Bortles as the first quarterback taken in the Draft. As quarterbacks slipped later in the round, it looked like a stunning pick. Something tells me the Jaguars wanted Bortles all along and drafted according to plan, but some were still shocked that with Johnny Manziel on the board, the Jaguars still went with Bortles.
Round 1, Pick 4: Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR – The first trade of the night saw the Cleveland Browns move down to pick 9, allowing the Bills to jump up and snag Sammy Watkins. This was a strategic move that will pay huge dividends for the Bills. It may have cost them their first pick next season and a fourth-round pick next season as well, but the Bills have to feel it was well worth it to get a receiver of this quality.
Round 1, Pick 8: Cleveland Browns: Justin Gilbert, CB – Another stunner. When Cleveland traded up from pick 9 to pick 8, it looked like Johnny Football's time had come. Not so. The Browns surprised everyone by selecting Justin Gilbert slightly ahead of projection. It's a tough pick to agree with, but the night was just beginning for the Browns, who later made up for it.
Round 1, Pick 9: Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Barr, LB – The Vikings made out pretty well with their first pick of the night. After trading down one spot, they made sure they grabbed Anthony Barr. As the leading pass rusher on the board, the Vikings can brag about having one of the best selections in the top 10 while trading down to get him.
Round 1, Pick 12: New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr., WR – The Giants not only grabbed one of the Eagles targets at wide receiver, but they improved at the position immensely. Eagles cornerbacks are going to have a difficult time containing this breakout receiver and now they get to face him twice a year. An excellent pick by the Giants.
Round 1, Pick 16: Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin, OT – Not the biggest noisemaker of the night, especially with Johnny Manziel still on the board, but a smart pick by the Cowboys. Protection on the offensive line is always an important asset for every team. The Cowboys picked up one of the best on the offensive line in this year's draft, possibly the third best behind Greg Robinson – who went second to St. Louis – and Jake Matthews – who went sixth to Atlanta.
Round 1, Pick 18: New York Jets: Calvin Pryor, S – In a bit of a surprise, the Jets not only passed on offense to go after secondary help, but they picked Pryor over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Nevertheless, Pryor is a hard-hitting player that will help the Jets out a lot. It was also a major turning point for the Eagles draft. Clinton-Dix wasn't supposed to be around this late. Pryor was supposed to go later. Oh, those mock draft projections.
Round 1, Pick 20: New Orleans Saints: Brandin Cooks, WR – This was an absolute steal for the Saints. Another player who slipped into the 20s, Cooks was there for the taking and the Saints traded up to get him. It was an excellent move, adding another weapon for Drew Brees and that dominant Saints offense.
Round 1, Pick 21: Green Bay Packers: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S – This wasn't a surprise at all, but it stung nevertheless. With Clinton-Dix in the Eagles grasp, the Packers made the move that they needed to make. Safety was the team's biggest need, and they got the best one in the Draft below his projected slot. Kudos to the Packers for not only making the pick, but waiting out the process and not pulling the trigger on a trade to get him.
Round 1, Pick 22: Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel, QB – The Eagles made the trade to move down and finally picked the star of the night. Johnny Football went from Top-5 pick to 22, but after the long wait, he ultimately ended up where everyone thought he would. It helped the Eagles that they acquired an additional pick in the third round just so the Browns could get their quarterback.
Round 1, Pick 28: Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, WR – The timing of the pick was surprising, as Benjamin was slipping in projected value. That said, he was a first-round projection leading up to the Draft and can slip in where Steve Smith did in Carolina. I'm not sure I agree with the timing of the pick, but Carolina got a very good receiver.
Round 1, Pick 31: Denver Broncos: Bradley Roby, CB – Roby was a high value – someone I thought the Eagles might take at 26 – and continued to fall. The Broncos got a chance to grab what some called the best corner in the Draft. For the timing of the pick and having to sit all the way at the bottom of the Draft order, this was a great pick by the Broncos.
Round 1, Pick 32: Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater, QB – The night ended with the Vikings trading up to take a quarterback. Bridgewater was initially projected as the first quarterback to be taken off the board, possibly even the top pick. Instead, Bridgewater was the last pick of the round and a great one for the Vikings. Trading up to get Bridgewater adds to the pick for Barr earlier in the round, capping off a pretty good night for the Vikings.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.