With the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney, a junior with 24 career sacks, was the third No. 1 overall pick in the history of the franchise. Houston drafted defensive end Mario Williams in 2006 and quarterback David Carr in 2002.
"It feels great," Clowney said Thursday night. "I'm glad to be a part of the organization. I'm ready to get to work, no matter what people say about me, I'm going to take my game to the next level."
The potential for greatness is undeniable with the 6-5, 266-pound phenom. He ran the 40-yard dash is 4.47 seconds at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and most of his athletic tests rate at the top of this class.
St. Louis spent the first of two picks in the top 13 on Auburn redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Greg Robinson, a gifted athlete and physical blocker at 6-5, 332. Scouts consider him raw as a pass blocker, and could begin his career at guard even though he has potential to become the best left tackle the Rams have had since Orlando Pace, the No. 1 pick in 1997.
"I've always been confident, I'm confident in my game and it won't change," Robinson said.
Jacksonville passed on Buffalo pass rusher Khalil Mack to draft quarterback Blake Bortles from Central Florida. Bortles is a physical doppelganger of Ben Roethsliberger at 6-5, 233, but might need a season as a backup to Chad Henne before he's ready to lead the Jacksonville offense. It is the second time in four years the Jaguars drafted a quarterback in the top 10 (Blaine Gabbert, 10th, 2011).
"I had no idea," Bortles said Thursday of going No. 3.
Buffalo traded up from No. 9 with Cleveland to draft Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall, sacrificing first-round and fourth-round picks in 2015 to complete the swap. Watkins, 20, grew up a Bills fan. He's explosive after the catch and provides 2013 first-round pick EJ Manuel with an open-field threat.
Oakland selected Mack at No. 5. He is the University of Buffalo's first ever player drafted in the first round. For the Bulls, he played a hybrid 3-4 linebacker role -- and projects to the same spot with the Raiders -- and set school records for sacks (28.5), tackles for loss (75) and forced fumbles (16).
Following a mandate from owner Arthur Blank to protect quarterback Matt Ryan (sacked 44 times last season), the Atlanta Falcons stayed in line with their offseason focus of getting bigger and better in the trenches with the sixth pick, left tackle Jake Matthews of Texas A&M. The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake played right tackle and left tackle for the Aggies.
"I've been watching it my whole life," said Jake Matthews, the seventh member of the Matthews Family drafted. "I'm excited to be an Atlanta Falcon. This is awesome."
Jake Matthews will face cousin Clay Matthews III and the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football" on Dec. 8.