Day one of the 2014 NFL Draft produced tons of hype and drama. With big names like Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel learning which teams they would play for, football fans across the country started predicting how their favorite teams would improve with their newest players.
But the process of getting better was far from finished Thursday night. There were still hundreds of picks left, with some big names remaining on the board.
The most talked-about players of this draft were the quarterbacks, and many were not picked by the time the second round began on Friday evening. Fresno State’s Derek Carr was considered one of the better passers of this year’s class, and he was the first quarterback selected on Friday, at number 36 overall to the Oakland Raiders.
Quarterbacks can’t be successful without someone to throw the ball to, and this year’s draft had plenty of good wide receivers. USC’s Marqise Lee was the first to be selected in the second round, and will try to help Jacksonville’s new quarterback Blake Bortles, the third overall pick of the draft, turn the Jaguars into a winning team.
One of the most important storylines of this draft was how far the running backs would fall. As the NFL has become a more pass-oriented league, teams have put running backs lower and lower on their list of priorities. That showed on Friday, as this draft set a record for latest pick used on the first running back selected. The Tennessee Titans used the 54th pick on Washington’s Bishop Sankey, who will try to replace departed star Chris Johnson, now with the New York Jets.
The next running backs taken didn’t have to wait long. LSU’s Jeremy Hill was the very next pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, and Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde went 56th overall to the San Francisco 49ers.
Another notable quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, was taken late in the second round by the New England Patriots. Showcasing just how deep this draft class was, there were successful quarterbacks available as late as the fifth round, where Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Alabama’s AJ McCarron went back-to-back. Murray will be behind Alex Smith on the Kansas City Chiefs, while McCarron will try to continue his winning ways as part of the Bengals. Finally, the Titans took LSU’s Zach Mettenberger with the second pick of the sixth round.
A lot happened in the draft’s first six rounds, but the most important pick took place in the seventh round. The St. Louis Rams selected Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL draft pick, with the 249th overall pick. Sam might be a long shot to make the Rams’ roster, but he certainly will be a part of NFL history.
From the first overall pick to the end of the seventh round, this draft had it all. It’s yet to be determined how these draft picks will do in the NFL, but no matter what, this weekend was a crucial one for every NFL team and fan.