Which was the best storyline from the 2014 NFL draft?

Leading Off: How will this NFL draft class be remembered?

Published: Sunday, May. 11, 2014 - 10:08 pm

There have been some great NFL drafts, perhaps none better than in 1983 when that class produced seven Pro Football Hall of Famers.

And, of course, there have been some bad draft classes. The 2009 draft, in which Matthew Stafford was the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Lions, is widely considered one of the biggest disappointments. Darrius Heyward-Bey, for example, was picked seventh by the Raiders, three spots before Michael Crabtree – who has had a much better career. Of the top 10 picks, only Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji (ninth overall) has played in a Pro Bowl.

Then there are the most memorable NFL drafts. In 2004, the 49ers had to decide between quarterbacks Alex Smith of Utah and Aaron Rodgers of Cal with the the No. 1 pick. After San Francisco selected Smith, Rodgers agonized in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center green room in New York for hours until the Green Bay Packers drafted him with the 24th pick. Smith is now with the Chiefs and Rodgers is a Super Bowl champion and MVP.

There was also the famous 1983, draft when six quarterbacks were selected, including Hall of Famers Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly.

So where will the NFL draft class of 2014 fit in? As far as overall talent, excitement and drama – this may be the best of all, though it will take years to determine.

Did the Houston Texans make the right call by picking South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 pick? On the surface, Clowney has the tools and upside to make a lasting impact. But the same was said of LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell when he was the No. 1 pick by Oakland in 2007. Ask any Raiders fan how that turned out.

Will Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel live up to his promise and make those quarterback-needing teams regret the night they passed on a chance to draft him? Though Manziel was expected to be drafted higher than 22nd overall, the Cleveland Browns could be the perfect team for the brash, young quarterback with a chip on his shoulder.

And will St. Louis Rams seventh-round pick Michael Sam prove that an openly gay man – assuming there may be other gay men in the league who are not so open – can not only be accepted in the macho den of an NFL locker room but also thrive on the field?

– Victor Contreras


Today’s poll

Which was the best storyline from the 2014 NFL draft?

• Jadeveon Clowney picked No. 1 by Houston

• Johnny Manziel falls to Cleveland at No. 22

• Michael Sam drafted by St. Louis

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports.

Weekend poll

Which quarterback will have the best NFL career?

• Blake Bortles, Jaguars 18%

• Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings 14%

• Derek Carr, Raiders 49%

• Johnny Manziel, Browns 14%

• Other 5%

Total votes: 165

Read more articles by Victor Contreras

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