For nearly three years, Jadeveon Clowney couldn't wait to get to the NFL, and the league was just as eager to add the player some called the best defensive prospect in a decade. No surprise: Clowney is the Texans' man. But Thursday's first pick of the 2014 NFL draft didn't come without some intrigue about how it would all turn out. There had been criticism of Clowney's work ethic last season and questions about whether the Texans would hold or trade the No. 1 slot.

No. 1: Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans
Associated Press

Defensive end
6-foot-5
266 pounds
South Carolina

He is first defender to go No. 1 overall since Mario Williams in 2006. Production fell off after spectacular sophomore season for defensive end. Finished last season with 11½ tackles for loss and three sacks after getting 23½ and 13 in 2012. Most talented and athletically gifted player in draft. Blazing fast for size. Moves fluidly. Plays with power, gets off line quickly and can chase down running backs from sideline to sideline. Some questions about playing with consistently high effort and he needs to develop more pass rushing technique.

No. 2: Greg Robinson, St. Louis Rams
Associated Press

Offensive tackle
6-foot-5
332 pounds
Auburn

(pick acquired from Washington Redskins in the RGIII trade two years ago)

Two-year starter at left tackle who became dominant player as junior last year. Checks all boxes with size, athleticism and power.

No. 3: Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Associated Press

Quarterback
6-foot-5
232 pounds
Central Florida

Blossomed into one of college football's best quarterbacks last year, leading Central Florida to the most successful season in the history of the program. Has drawn comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger because of his combination of size and mobility. Some questions about his ability to throw deep accurately after playing in an offense that featured many short passes and quick throws.

No. 4: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Associated Press

PIck traded from the Cleveland Browns.

Wide Receiver
6-foot-0
211 pounds
Clemson

The Bills gave up the No. 9 pick as well as first- and fourth-round picks in next year's draft.

Spectacular freshman and junior seasons, sandwiched around so-so sophomore year when he was hampered by suspension and injury. Clemson's career leader in receptions (240) and yards receiving (3,391). Big-time speed and good hands. Runs tough and with power after catch. There's not much to complain about, maybe better route running, but that goes for most receivers coming into NFL.

No. 5: Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
Associated Press

Outside linebacker
6-foot-2
252 pounds
Buffalo

Four-year starter who became one of best linebackers in country. Last season had 10½ sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles and scored two touchdowns. Potential every down linebacker with an ability to be fierce pass rusher and sideline-to-sideline force. Hard hitter and excellent athlete. Only knock was a few lackluster performances and at times he seemed to try too hard to make big plays.

No. 6: Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons
Associated Press

Offensive tackle
6-foot-5
308 pounds
Texas A&M

Son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. Became starter during freshman season. Played right tackle as sophomore and junior and moved to left as senior after Luke Joeckel moved on to NFL. Strong and technically sound. Only question: will be a top-notch pro or merely good?

No. 7: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Wide receiver
6-foot-4
231 pounds
Texas A&M

In two seasons playing with Johnny Manziel, Evans had 151 catches, 2,499 yards and 17 touchdowns. Huge, Calvin Johnson-type receiver, though he doesn't quite have Megatron speed. Was nearly impossible for college cornerbacks to stop one-on-one on deep balls.

No. 8: Justin Gilbert, Cleveland Browns
Associated Press

Cornerback
6-foot-0
202 pounds
Oklahoma State

(Trade acquired for the No. 9 pick and a fifth draft pick in the 2014 draft)

Had five interceptions as sophomore, none as junior and seven last season. Returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2013. Cornerback finished career with six kickoff return touchdowns. Good size and closing speed. Playmaker when he gets ball. Could make immediate impact as return man. Tackling and run support need work and sometimes he makes mistakes trying to make big play, but he's got lock-down ability.

No. 9: Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings
Associated Press

Outside linebacker
6-foot-4
255 pounds
UCLA

(Pick acquired from Browns for the No. 8 pick and a fifth-round selection.)

Moved from offense to defense after two years in college and finished with 23½ sacks in two seasons playing outside linebacker in 3-4 defense. Fast first step and explosive pass rusher. Speed and quickness player. Strength and power need improvement. Feel for game and ability to read plays is still developing.

No. 10: Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Associated Press

Tight end
6-foot-4
250 pounds
North Carolina

Breakout junior season with 62 catches for 973 yards, breaking ACC record for yards by tight end held by Vernon Davis at Maryland. Exceptional athlete, combining size, speed, quickness and sticky hands. Blocking needs work and needs to play at his best more consistently, but could be next matchup nightmare tight end in NFL.

No. 11: Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans
Associated Press

Offensive tackle
6-foot-7
309 pounds
Michigan

Started 39 games at left tackle in final three seasons at Michigan and was team captain. Good balance, speed and quickness. Needs to fill out in lower body. Not an overpowering blocker.

No. 12: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Associated Press

Wide receiver
5-foot-11
198 pounds
LSU

Broke LSU's single-season record with 2,315 all-purpose yards last season. Tough and skilled receiver and excellent return man. Reliable hands. Strong and quick after the catch. Tough to tackle. Plays bigger than 5-11. Doesn't have blazing speed or great size, but if you watched him play you might have a hard time noticing that.

No. 13: Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams
Associated Press

Defensive lineman
6-foot-1
285 pounds
Pittsburgh

As productive as any college defensive player last season, and has hardware to back it up. Defensive tackle won Bronko Nagurski Award as national defensive player of year, and Outland and Lombardi trophies as top lineman after leading country in tackles for loss with 28½. A bit undersized and there are some complaints about ability to anchor down against double-teams, but instincts, quickness, technique and tenacity have more than made up for any physical shortcomings.

No. 14: Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears
Associated Press

Cornerback
6-foot-0
190 pounds
Virginia Tech

Sports hernia cost the cornerback a chunk of last season, but was excellent when full speed. Broke up 10 passes and made two interceptions. Not an elite athlete but very solid and makes up for some speed and strength shortcomings with good technique and instincts.

No. 15: Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers
Associated Press

Outside linebacker
6-foot-1
237 pounds
Ohio State

Led Big Ten with 134 tackles and 22½ stops for loss from weak side linebacker spot last year. Fast and finds way into backfield, using athleticism to avoid blockers. Could be used as pass rusher and has tools to be good in coverage. On thin side, so he can be knocked around at point of attack.

No. 16: Zach Martin, Dallas Cowboys
Associated Press

Offensive tackle
6-foot-4
308 pound
Notre Dame

Started 39 games and was two-time team captain. Reliable, tough, sound and consistent blocker. Might be better suited to playing guard because of size.

No. 17: C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens
Associated Press

Inside linebacker
6-foot-2
234 pounds
Alabama

SEC defensive player of year and Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker in 2013. Made 215 tackles in final two seasons. Leader of one of best defenses in nation. Always around the ball. Great instincts and fundamentally sound tackler. Not used much as pass rusher and coverage skills need work. Improve those two a bit and he's an every-down star.

No. 18: Calvin Pryor, New York Jets
Associated Press

Safety
5-foot-11
207 pounds
Louisville

Became starter at safety midway through freshman season and quickly became leader of defense. Finished with seven career interceptions. Made 175 tackles in final two seasons. Big hitter who finds ball quickly and excels at taking it away. A bit undersized, though he plays big. Can be overly aggressive and undisciplined.

No. 19: Ja'Waun James, Miami Dolphins
Associated Press

Offensive tackle
6-foot-6
311 pounds
Tennessee

Started all 49 games he played in for the Volunteers. Held down the right tackle position. Not projected to be a first-rounder, but not a major reach either. Excellent size and solid in pass protection. Shows good smarts and has been a dependable team leader. Technique needs some work. Needs to play more light on his feet.

No. 20: Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
Associated Press

Wide receiver
5-foot-9
189 pounds
Oregon State

(Pick acquired from Arizona Cardinals for the No. 27 pick and a third-round selection.)

Won Biletnikoff Award as nation's best receiver last year, when he set Pac-12 records with 128 catches for 1,730 yards. Very fast (4.4 in 40-yard dash), but not just undersized deep threat. Has good quickness to separate from defenders in middle of field and make tacklers miss. Plays physical despite size, but that size is still far from ideal.

No. 21: Ha'Sean "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers
Associated Press

Safety
6-foot-1
208 pounds
Alabama

Missed couple of games last season because of suspension for breaking NCAA rule. Otherwise his first season as full-time starter at safety was excellent, with 51 tackles and two interceptions. Rangy and hard hitter, with good ball skills. Plays with discipline, though is not especially fast or athletic.

No. 22: Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Associated Press

Quarterback
5-foot-11
207 pounds
Texas A&M

(Browns acquired the pick from the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 26 pick and a third-round selection)

2012 Heisman Trophy winner was one of most exciting and productive players in college football history. How well his game, which featured plenty of spectacular but unscripted plays out of the pocket, translates to NFL is big question. Mechanics and recognition of defenses need work and size is not ideal, but athleticism and competitiveness are enticing.

No. 23: Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs
Associated Press

Defensive end
6-foot-2
244 pounds
Auburn

Highly touted recruit who played at Auburn as a freshmen and blossomed into a star by his senior season. Was the best defensive player on a team that played for a national championship and had 10½ sacks. Quick off the line and a relentless pass rusher. Unquestioned team leader and workout manic who keeps himself in impeccable condition, though he has had some injury issues with his back. Can get engulfed by big tackles.

No. 24: Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals
Associated Press

Cornerback
5-foot-10
199 pounds
Michigan State

Won Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back last season to cap stellar career at cornerback. Had four interceptions, 62 tackles and 10 passes defended in 2013. Played plenty of man to man in college and excelled at it. Good though not elite speed. Not much zone experience and needs to get stronger against run.

No. 25: Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers
Associated Press

Cornerback
5-foot-9
189 pounds
TCU

Played much of last season with a shoulder injury but was still good enough to share Big 12 defensive player of the year honors. Had 14 passes defended and two interceptions. Fast and quick, but undersized which could lead to a career as a slot corner.

No. 26: Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Associated Press

Defensive end
6-foot-3
251 pounds
Louisville

Some teams project this pass-rushing specialist to move from end to linebacker. For Cardinals, he had 14½ sacks last year. Long arms to block passes and maybe even kicks. Can be overpowered by stronger blockers.

No. 27: Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals
Associated Press

Safety
6-foot-1
211 pounds
Washington State

Four-year starter at safety who had a huge senior season, playing on poor defense. Led the Pac-12 in tackles (114) and interceptions (six). Imposing athlete. Big and fast. Crushing hitter. Coverage skills need work and can miss tackles going for big hits.

No. 28: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
Associated Press

Wide receiver
6-foot-5
240 pounds
Florida State

Blossomed last season with 54 catches for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns, including winning score in BCS championship game against Auburn. Huge and an irresistible red zone weapon. Hands fall into needs-improvement category and he is not a burner. But fast enough considering his size.

No. 29: Dominique Easley, New England Patriots
Associated Press

Defensive tackle
6-foot-1
288 pounds
Florida

Tore his right ACL and medial meniscus in a non-contact injury last season. Easley tore the ACL in his left knee in November 2011, but worked his way back to become a disruptive defender in 2012. He considered leaving school after his junior season, but ultimately decided to come back in hopes of improving his draft stock. Easley had 72 tackles, including 18 for loss, and 5½ sacks.

No. 30: Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers
Associated Press

Safety
5-foot-10
193 pounds
Northern Illinois

Led Northern Illinois in tackles in 2012. Seen as active and energetic, but size could be an issue.

No. 31: Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos
Associated Press

Cornerback
5-foot-11
194 pounds
Ohio State

Was suspended for last season's opener by Urban Meyer. Has good size and is physical and aggressive, but was inconsistent as a junior.

No. 32: Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Associated Press

Quarterback
6-foot-3
196 pounds
Louisville

(Pick acquired from the Seattle Seahawks for a second-round and a fourth-round pick.)

Three-year starter who took over as a freshman and helped Louisville to consecutive double-digit win seasons in his final two years. Solid mechanics, reads field well, stays disciplined under pressure and has shown willingness to play hurt.

Trade roundup
Associated Press

1, Cleveland traded its first-round pick (No. 4) to Buffalo for the Bills' first-round (No. 9) and a 2015 first- and fourth-round picks. Buffalo selected Sammy Watkins, wr, Clemson. Cleveland traded (No. 9) to Minnesota.

2, Minnesota traded its first-round pick (No. 8) to Cleveland for the Browns' first- (No. 9) and fifth-round (No. 145) picks. Cleveland selected Justin Gilbert, db, Oklahoma State. Minnesota selected Anthony Barr, lb, UCLA and (No. 145).

3, Arizona traded its first-round pick (No. 20) to New Orleans for the Saints' first- (No. 27) and third-round (No. 91) pick. New Orleans selected Brandin Cooks, wr, Oregon State. Arizona selected Deone Bucannon, db, Washington State and (No. 91).

4, Philadelphia traded its first-round pick (No. 22) to Cleveland for the Browns' first- (No. 26) and third-round (No. 83) picks. Cleveland selected Johnny Manziel, qb, Texas A&M. Philadelphia selected Marcus Smith, lb, Louisville and (No. 83).

5, Seattle traded its first-round pick (No. 32) to Minnesota for the Vikings' second- (No. 40) and fourth-round (No. 108) picks. Minnesota selected Teddy Bridgewater, qb, Louisville. Seattle selected (No. 40) and (No. 108).