NFL draft: 50 facts you need to know
The 2014 NFL draft is almost upon us -- have you been studying up? If not, it may be too late for you to put together scouting reports on this year’s prospects (don’t worry, we’ve got your back), but you can still sound like an expert when everyone gathers around the water cooler the Monday after the draft. Below are 50 facts about this draft -- some good, some bad, some weird.
1. There are four "Shaqs" in this year's draft class, though each one has a different actual first name. There's UCLA WR Shaquelle Evans; Arizona CB Shaquille Richardson; Colorado State OLB Shaquil Barrett; and West Virginia DT Shawntel Rowell, who goes by Shaq for short.
2. Will the Rams take a wide receiver at No. 2 overall? If they do, it will be just the fourth time a WR has landed at that spot in draft history. The previous two receivers taken with the second pick both headed to Detroit: Calvin Johnson and Charles Rogers. The Jets also took Johnny Jones in 1980.
3. If Jadeveon Clowney is taken with the No. 1 pick, he would become the second University of South Carolina player to land that honor. The only other Gamecock taken first overall was RB George Rogers, by the Saints in 1981. There have been no No. 1 picks from Texas A&M, Buffalo, Central Florida, Clemson or Louisville.
4. How explosive was Fresno State's passing attack last season? QB Derek Carr led the country in completions (453), yards (5,082) and touchdowns (50), while WR Davante Adams paced FBS with 24 receiving TDs. Adams finished with eight more touchdowns than his closest competitor, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks.
5. Prior to the 2013 season, Michigan OT Taylor Lewan and several teammates bought a teacup pig (which they named Dr. Hamlet III) on Craigslist for $250. After two weeks, they had to send the pet packing because he had trouble walking on the hardwood floors inside Lewan's house.
the wait is over and everyone's dreams can now come true We purchased a PIG! Introducing Dr. Hamlet III pic.twitter.com/tq8VoFfe64
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) May 28, 2013
6. Florida State had the most players drafted in 2013, with a school-record 13. Four SEC schools trailed close behind: Alabama, LSU, Florida (all with nine) and Georgia (eight).
7. It may be awhile before anyone knocks Towson RB Terrance West from atop the FCS record books. His 2013 season was one for the ages, as he rushed for 2,509 yards and scored 42 total touchdowns -- both unmatched in FCS history.
9. Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, a projected top-five pick, is the half-brother of Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins, who is expected to be selected on Day 2 or Day 3 of this year's draft.
10. This will mark the third time in their history that the Texans hold the draft's final selection. Their two previous Mr. Irrelevant choices: Ahmad Taylor, DT, UNLV (2002) and Cheta Ozougwu, DE, Rice (2011).
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11. UCLA OLB Anthony Barr's father, Tony Brooks, was a fourth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992. A running back from Notre Dame, Brooks played just five games for the Eagles.
12. Kent State RB/WR Dri Archer nearly took down Chris Johnson's combine record in the 40-yard dash this year. Archer clocked in at 4.26 seconds, just shy of Johnson's blazing 4.24 time.
13. The origin of Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix's nickname, Ha Ha, by which he's now known? His grandmother began calling him that as a toddler, reportedly because so many people had trouble pronouncing Clinton-Dix's real first name.
14. WR Odell Beckham Jr. enjoyed 33 wins, two bowl victories, an SEC title and BCS title game appearance during his career at LSU. His mom, Heather Van Norman, owns bragging rights over him, though. She won five NCAA titles as a member of LSU's track team -- indoor championships in 1991 and '93, and three straight outdoor titles.
15. The St. Louis Rams currently hold the No. 2 pick for the third time in seven drafts. They spent the second-overall selection on OT Jason Smith in 2009, one year after taking DE Chris Long in the same slot.
16. As part of a draft diary for USA Today, Arizona State OLB Carl Bradford revealed that he's "never attended a pro sports game of any kind."
17. Atlanta has enjoyed a high batting average when picking in the top 10 recently. The Falcons, who hold the No. 6 pick this year, have made a Round 1 selection at No. 10 or higher five times since the turn of the millennium. The choices: Julio Jones (2011), Matt Ryan (2008), Jamaal Anderson (2007), DeAngelo Hall (2004) and Michael Vick (2001)
18. If the Texans (or another team) takes Jadeveon Clowney, an offensive tackle or any other non-QB at No. 1 overall, the decision will fly in the face of a running trend. Twelve of the past 16 No. 1 picks have been spent on QBs, a run that started with Peyton Manning's selection in 1998. From 2009-12, every top selection was a quarterback.
19. Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman was such an accomplished high school basketball player -- and is such a sensational athlete -- that former Gophers (and current Texas Tech) hoops coach Tubby Smith tried to convince him to walk-on once he arrived at the school. Hageman declined the invite to be a two-sport athlete.
20. Auburn OT Greg Robinson and his family were forced to flee their home in Houma, La., to avoid Hurricane Katrina. Robinson told Sports on Earth's Dan Pompei that they did not return to their Houma residence for two years.
21. Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews is the son of longtime Oiler/Titan lineman Bruce Matthews, who was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame as part of the 2007 class.
22. Any team eyeing a kicker in this draft may be interested in Boston College's Nate Freese. He was the only FBS kicker to finish 2013 with a perfect mark on field-goal attempts (minimum: 10). Freese hit all 20 of his tries, with a long of 52 yards.
23. Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs, an early-entrant and potential late-round pick in the 2014 draft, led the nation in rushing touchdowns last season with 31. (Navy QB Keenan Reynolds matched that total.) Next on the list: fellow draft hopefuls, Auburn RB Tre Mason and Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, at 23 apiece.
24. No defensive player was more successful getting to the quarterback last season than Stanford's Trent Murphy, who finished with 15 sacks. Louisville DE Marcus Smith came in second in that category, a half-sack behind Murphy.
25. Potential top-10 pick Aaron Donald racked up 28.5 tackles-for-loss for Pittsburgh last season, easily the top number in FBS. Clemson's Vic Beasley (23) and Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence (20.5) rounded out the 2013 tackles-for-loss leaders.
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26. A total of 27 trades occurred during the 2013 NFL draft, with two involving players changing teams. The Jets sent pick No. 106 to New Orleans in exchange for RB Chris Ivory; later, the Patriots dealt pick 229 and RB Jeff Demps to Tampa Bay for RB LeGarrette Blount.
27. At least four receivers are expected to come off the board in Round 1 this year, with some mock drafts calling for as many as eight Round 1 picks to be used on the position. That's a steep increase from last season, when the sixth WR was not taken until pick 74.
28. The heaviest player at this year's scouting combine? Tennessee DT Daniel McCullers, who tipped the scales at 352 pounds.
29. Two players share the title of tallest 2014 draft hopeful: Belhaven OT Matt Hall and Florida A&M OT Frances Mays, each standing 6-foot-9. At the opposite end of the spectrum are Oklahoma RB Roy Finch, Ball State WR Jamil Smith and Indiana State RB Shakir Bell, the shortest draft entries at 5-6.
30. North Carolina G Russell Bodine recorded 42 reps at 225 pounds each on the scouting combine's bench press, tops among all participants. Five players, including Tennessee OT Antonio "Tiny" Richardson made it through 36.
31. More a public service announcement here than a "fact," but the runaway winner for having the best Twitter account among this draft class: Notre Dame DT Louis Nix III. The man who goes by the handle @1IrishChocolate runs the full tweeting gamut from cheering on the Miami Heat to self-deprecating humor to gems like "Are you a Quidditch player? Because word on the pitch is you're a keeper."
Ice skating like a boss!!!! #Relay4LifeND pic.twitter.com/0GLIP0VrCi
— lOUIS NIX III (@1IrishChocolate) March 29, 2014
32. AJ McCarron earned his "winner" tag by piling up 36 victories as Alabama's starting quarterback (with two national titles). He needed one more undefeated year to match the NCAA record for wins, though. That honor belongs to current Detroit backup Kellen Moore, who racked up 49 W's at Boise State.
33. Johnny Manziel averaged 1,084.5 yards rushing over his two seasons at Texas A&M, putting him on pace for 4,338 yards had he stuck around for his final two campaigns. Denard Robinson holds the FBS QB rushing record at 4,495 -- though Robinson spent a chunk of his senior year at running back, the position he now plays for the Jaguars.
34. Sleeper QB prospect Tom Savage was a member of three different teams during his college career: Rutgers, Arizona and Pitt. He only played for two. Savage transferred from Rutgers to Arizona, sat out the required year, then transferred to Pittsburgh before ever suiting up with the Wildcats.
35. Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews, the SEC's all-time leader in career receptions with 262, is a cousin of Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP Jerry Rice.
36. The Jets and Rams currently hold the most 2014 draft picks with 12 each. The Colts, who traded their first-rounder for RB Trent Richardson and also cast off fourth- and seventh-round selections, have the fewest available choices at five.
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37. The NFL handed out 32 compensatory picks for this year's draft, spread over Rounds 4-7. The Ravens and Jets scored the largest haul there, earning four additional selections each.
38. Legendary Ohio State RB Archie Griffin remains the only player to win two Heisman Trophies. Carlos Hyde lapped him a couple spots in the record book, ending his Ohio State career with the best yards-per-carry average (6.1) and single-season yards-per-carry mark (7.3) of any Buckeye.
39. Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo walked away with last season's Walter Payton Award, given annually to the FCS' top offensive player. Another past winner of the award? Current Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who also played his college ball at Eastern Illinois.
40. First-round hopeful Jace Amaro holds the NCAA single-season receiving record for tight ends with 1,352 yards. His 106 receptions last season landed him in second place all-time.
41. Clowney ran a 4.53 40 at the combine, which was the fastest among defensive linemen ... as well as faster than any quarterback, No. 3 among linebackers and a top-15 time if compared to the RB class.
42. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater is a product of Miami Northwestern High (Fla.), the school with more players drafted in 2012 (4) than any other in the country. Northwestern alums Lavonte David, Sean Spence, Tommy Streeter and Brandon Washington all were picked in that '12 draft. Another Northwestern product, WR Amari Cooper, could be among the top prospects in 2015.
43. As if his name doesn't set him apart a bit already, Dixie State TE Joe Don Duncan likes to pump himself up before games by listening to Elton John.
44. OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the lone draft hopeful from a Canadian school -- he played for McGill University. Meanwhile, Oregon LB Boseko Lokombo, who was raised in British Columbia, has his sights on the NFL after being taken in Round 3 of the CFL's 2013 draft.
45. Neither the Colts nor Redskins have a Round 1 pick this year, thanks to prior trades. Indianapolis also was without a first-rounder in 2008 after trading up for Tony Ugoh in the 2007 draft. Washington sat out the first round that year, too, on account of trading down with Atlanta.
46. A mere three defensive players have been taken No. 1 overall in the past 20 years: Mario Williams (2006, Houston), Courtney Brown (2000, Cleveland) and Dan Wilkinson (1994, Cincinnati).
47. This will be the fifth consecutive year that the NFL has utilized a three-day format for its draft -- Round 1 on Thursday, Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday, and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
48. The NFL Network first joined ESPN in broadcasting the draft in 2006. Both networks have aired live coverage throughout the event since.
49. Keep an eye on Alabama State RB Isaiah Crowell, once the SEC Freshman of the Year while playing for Georgia. Crowell, a five-star recruit, was dismissed off the Bulldogs' roster in 2012 after being arrested on felony weapons charges (the charges were later dropped). 50. A total of 98 underclassmen entered this year's draft, shattering the previous record of 73, set just last April.