NFL draft: First round was a no-fly zone

A record nine defensive backs were selected in the first round of the NFL draft

Seattle’s victory in Super Bowl XLVIII underscored how important it is to have a solid defense, and how a top-shelf defense generally trumps a phenomenal offense.

That philosophy was reflected in the NFL draft Thursday as a record nine defensive backs were selected in the first round, two more than any other opening round. (Seven were taken in the first round in 1998, 2006 and 2013.)

Defensive backs who heard their names called Thursday were Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert (Cleveland), Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller (Chicago), Louisville’s Calvin Pryor (New York Jets), Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Green Bay), Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard (Cincinnati), TCU’s Jason Verrett (San Diego), Washington State’s Deone Bucannon (Arizona), Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward (San Francisco) and Ohio State’s Bradley Roby (Denver).

Other odds and ends from the first round of the draft, which continues Friday night with the second and third rounds:

--  Eleven players from the Southeastern Conference were selected in the first round, the most of any conference. Since 2000, the SEC leads all conferences with 607 draft picks, with the Big Ten second at 488.

--  When Atlanta took tackle Jake Matthews at No. 6, and Tampa Bay chose receiver Mike Evans at No. 7, it was the first time in Texas A&M history that two Aggies were taken back-to-back in the top 10 picks.

--  Houston took defensive end Jadeveon Clowney first overall. The last time a defensive lineman was taken first was when the Texans made Mario Williams the top pick in 2006. Clowney is the 14th defensive lineman to go No. 1 overall, and the second South Carolina player taken there (George Rogers, 1981).


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