Jadeveon Clowney says he cannot wait to start learning from the fearsome J.J. Watt after being selected with the first-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Clowney, a former South Carolina defensive end, was selected by the Houston Texans at Radio City Music Hall in New York City to become just the second defensive player in eight years to earn the much-lauded No1 status.
The 21-year-old from South Carolina will team up with former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Watt in what promises to be one of the most powerful pass rushes in the NFL.
Watt was quickly on the phone to congratulate his new partner in crime, and Clowney feels the two of them will work well together.
“I just got off the phone with him. He says he’s going to stay on my butt when I get there,” Clowney said. “He told me he’s going to give me every piece of knowledge to help me improve my game. He’s going to show me like a mentor or big brother and I told him I appreciate that and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“I’ve been watching him a long time. I can’t wait to play alongside him.”
Clowney, who will wear the 90 shirt, will have a steep learning curve at the Texans, who owned the top draft pick by virtue of having the worst record in the regular season last term.
“It’s been a great day. I’m enjoying every bit of it,” he added. “No one can take this away from me, this moment. I’m just happy about it. It’s just a blessing for me and my family, so I’m happy, man. I’m feeling great right now. I appreciate and am glad to be a part of the Houston Texans.”
The second overall pick went to the St Louis Rams, who put their faith in Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson, while the first big surprise came one pick later when Central Florida’s Blake Bortles became the first quarterback drafted, ahead of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made Bortles the first quarterback at number three, passing on a chance to select former Heisman Trophy winner Manziel.
The Heisman is awarded annually to the top player in US college football.
“It is indescribable,” Bortles said. “I am looking forward to going to Jacksonville and learning everything. I had no idea they were going to pick me.”
Manziel went 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns, who traded up from the 26th spot to get him.
“It was tough,” Manziel said of the wait. “But I went into this saying whatever team wanted me it would be the right situation for me.
“I’m just going to play my heart out for this team.”
Manziel will be competing with Brian Hoyer for a starting spot as he aims to improve the Browns weak offence, ranked 27 of 32 last season.
He added: “I’m going to showcase my skills and come to work with a smile on my face.”
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