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When they were recruits: 2014’s first-round draft picks

Jadeveon Clowney Makes Football Announcement Getty Images

Of the 32 players drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, four were rated as five-star recruits out of high school — just one more than the total of players rated as two-star players taken among the first 32 picks Thursday night.

Being a freakishly good athlete out of high school often translates into success in college — like for Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2011 and the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft — but it hardly guarantees a player being a first-round draft pick. A look back at where this year’s first-rounders stood coming out of high school certainly proves that point:

1. Jadeveon Clowney: 5 stars, No. 1 overall player (2011)

2. Greg Robinson: 4 stars, No. 90 overall player (2011)

3. Blake Bortles: 3 stars, No. 44 quarterback (2010)

4. Sammy Watkins: 5 stars, No. 15 overall player (2011)

5. Khalil Mack: 2 stars, no national, positional or state ranking (2009)

6. Jake Matthews: 4 stars, No. 48 overall player (2010)

7. Mike Evans: 3 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2011)

8. Justin Gilbert: 4 stars, No. 26 cornerback (2010)

9. Anthony Barr: 4 stars, No. 50 overall player (2010)

10. Eric Ebron: 3 stars, No. 21 tight end (2011)

11. Taylor Lewan: 4 stars, No. 194 overall player (2009)

12. Odell Beckham Jr.: 4 stars, No. 43 overall player (2011)

13. Aaron Donald: 3 stars, No. 37 defensive tackle (2010)

14. Kyle Fuller: 3 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2010)

15. Ryan Shazier: 4 stars, No. 14 outside linebacker (2011)

16. Zack Martin: 4 stars, No. 22 offensive tackle (2009)

17. C.J. Mosley: 4 stars, No. 56 overall player (2010)

18. Calvin Pryor: 3 stars, No. 31 safety (2011)

19. Ja’Wuan James: 4 stars, No. 55 overall player (2010)

20. Brandin Cooks: 4 stars, No. 240 overall player (2011)

21. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: 5 stars, No. 7 overall player (2011)

22. Johnny Manziel: 3 stars, No. 14 dual-threat quarterback (2011)

23. Dee Ford: 3 stars, No. 62 outside linebacker (2009)

24. Darqueze Dennard: 2 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2010)

25. Jason Verrett: 3 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2011)

26. Marcus Smith: 3 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2010)

27. Deone Bucannon: 3 stars, No. 45 safety (2010)

28. Kelvin Benjamin: 4 stars, No. 60 overall player (2011)

29. Dominique Easley: 5 stars, No. 7 overall player (2010)

30. Jimmie Ward: 2 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2010)

31. Bradley Roby: 3 stars, no national, positional or state rankings (2010)

32. Teddy Bridgewater: 4 stars, No. 113 overall player (2011)

Five-star players: 4 (Jadeveon Clowney, Sammie Watkins, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Dominique Easley)

Four-star players: 13 (Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Justin Gilbert, Anthony Barr, Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham Jr., Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin, C.J. Mosley, Ja’Wuan James, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Teddy Bridgewater)

Three-star players: 12 (Blake Bortles, Mike Evans, Eric Ebron, Aaron Donald, Kyle Fuller, Calvin Pryor, Johnny Manziel, Dee Ford, Jason Verrett, Marcus Smith, Deone Bucannon, Bradley Roby)

Two-star players: 3 (Khalil Mack, Darqueze Dennard, Jimmie Ward)

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8 Responses to “When they were recruits: 2014’s first-round draft picks”
  1. drummerhoff says: May 9, 2014 8:29 AM

    Awesome analysis… thanks! 3 Cali, 3 Texas and a whole lot of southeast flavor, especially Florida.

  2. ipskipskyblue says: May 9, 2014 9:20 AM

    This is one of my favorite post draft things to read.

    Would be interesting to see a where are they now type thing with all the 5 stars etc.

  3. 8to80texansblog says: May 9, 2014 11:32 AM

    In case any body wanted further analysis

    SEC: 11
    ACC: 5
    Big 10: 4
    AAC: 4
    PAC 12: 3
    Big 12: 2
    MAC: 2
    Independent: 1

    Schools with multiple picks

    A&M: 3
    Louisville: 3
    Bama: 2
    Auburn: 2
    Ohio State: 2

    By position:

    CB: 5
    WR: 5
    OT: 5
    QB: 3
    OLB: 3
    DE: 3
    DT: 2
    FS: 2
    SS: 2
    ILB: 1
    TE: 1

    Offense: 14
    Defense: 18

  4. Deb says: May 9, 2014 12:50 PM

    Agree with ipskipskyblue that this is a fascinating post-draft analysis. It’s especially interesting to me as a Steelers fan because there’s a lot of argument on our boards about taking Ryan Shazier over Darqueze Dennard. This look back reinforces my view that Shazier was the better choice for us.

  5. djshnooks says: May 9, 2014 2:01 PM

    So you think just because Shazier was rated higher coming out of high school, that he is a better draft pick than Dennard?

    Lmfao, you have a lot to learn. That’s like saying Khalil Mack won’t be any good because he was rated 2 stars…but I guarantee you he’s the best drafted in ’14.

  6. chinahand11 says: May 9, 2014 3:45 PM

    Very good article, JJ. Also inspiring to see how many of the “no national, positional or state rankings” young men ate their Wheaties and worked hard to become first rounders.

  7. Deb says: May 9, 2014 4:02 PM

    @djshnooks …

    No, dear, I don’t think Shazier’s high school stats make him the better pick–nor did I say that. What I said was that his high school ranking compared to Dennard’s reinforced what I already believed was the right pick compared to Dennard. You have a lot to learn about reading, poor thing.

    I think Shazier’s the better pick because the linebacking corps has always been the heart of Pittsburgh’s defense. Shazier–who ran a 4.38/40 at the Combine–combined with Timmons, last season’s tackle leader and someone just slightly larger and slower–will make for a lightning fast inside linebacking tandem. Our 3/4 zone packages require speed.

    In addition to providing speed at the linebacking position, Shazier will be able to drop back into coverage–another key to our defensive schemes and he’ll free future Hall of Fame strong safety Troy Polamalu from having to play so close to the line in nickel and dime packages. This will let Troy do what Troy does best–roam the defensive backfield.

    On the other hand, Dennard has virtually no experience in a zone defense and a lot of injury issues. Now, genius, anytime you want to educate me on football … go right ahead LOL

  8. irishdodger says: May 9, 2014 6:23 PM

    This shows me that Mike Sherman signed a lot of talent at TAMU. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate to wins on the football field. While Sumlin has done well he needs to improve that defense or he’ll find himself in the same boat as Sherman was in. Sherman’s teams were notorious for putting up huge offensive numbers only to see their defense let them down and blow big leads.

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