Extra Points

Where Are They Now? A Look At Landing Spots For the Draft’s Top Prospects

FOXBOROUGH — A quick look at where some of the best players landed in the NFL draft:

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was not the first quarterback taken off the board. That distinction goes to Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles, who the Jacksonville Jaguars selected with the third overall pick. Bortles will now compete with Chad Henne to be the Jaguars’ starting quarterback.

Manziel was taken 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns, who were the busiest team in the first round. To grab Manziel, the Browns gave up a third-round pick to move up from 26th to 22nd in the first round. The Browns still have former Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer on the roster, but after going for broke to draft Manziel, the starting quarterback job looks like it’s Manziel’s to lose.


Prior to Manziel-mania, the Browns traded out of the No. 4 pick and down to No. 9, then back up to No. 8 to grab Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. Gilbert is considered one of the most electric and athletic cornerbacks in this year’s draft, and has drawn comparisons between himself and Deion Sanders for his dual-threat abilities as a shutdown cornerback and a top-flight return man. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound cornerback excels in man coverage, but his footwork can get sloppy and he can get overaggressive at times when trying to break on a route before the ball is thrown.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the first overall pick of the draft by the Houston Texans. Clowney has been a wunderkind since high school, where he was the most sought-after recruit in 2011. He burst onto the scene in 2012 with 13 sacks, but his play took a dramatic step back in 2013 when he totaled just three sacks amid questions about his work ethic and effort. He is expected to immediately improve the Texans’ defense in multiple ways, with the quickness to generate pressure on the quarterback and the strength to set the edge against the run.
The Oakland Raiders selected Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack fifth overall. Mack was considering leaving school last year despite being projected as a fourth-round pick, but instead, he is the first player from Buffalo to be drafted in the first round. Buffalo was the only FBS team that recruited Mack out of high school. The Raiders have changed defensive schemes several times over the years, but the 6-foot-3, 251-pound Mack is seen as a fit in either a 3-4 (as a stand-up outside linebacker) or a 4-3 (as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt).
North Carolina’s Eric Ebron was the first tight end taken off the board, as the 10th overall pick to the Detroit Lions. The Lions re-signed tight end Brandon Pettigrew (another former first-round pick) earlier this offseason, and could have designs on a two-tight end offense. Ebron is primarily a receiving tight end, with a 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame that gives him plenty of upside as a receiving threat in the red zone and over the middle. He has much to learn about being an in-line blocking tight end, but he can make early contributions to the Lions’ offense.
The New England Patriots’ division rivals were also busy. The Buffalo Bills traded up to the No. 4 overall pick to select Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. They gave up their 2015 first- and fourth-round picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up five spots to the No. 4 spot. Watkins had 240 receptions for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns over the past three years, the third-most receiving yards in the nation since 2011.
For the fifth consecutive year under Rex Ryan, the New York Jets took a defensive player in the first round. This year’s choice was Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, who is considered the hardest-hitting safety in this year’ class. Pryor is not limited to that role, though; he has sharp instincts in zone coverage, and he has the speed to cover sideline to sideline as a deep safety if needed. The Jets have had a revolving door at strong safety, with three different starters over the past three years.



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