Will the 2014 NFL draft will be worth the wait?
Officially known as the "Annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting," the 79th draft will be the first held in May due to a scheduling conflict at New York's Radio City Music Hall. But the Houston Texans, owners of the No. 1 pick, will finally go on the clock at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night.
All signs point to Houston — or possibly a trade partner — selecting South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who headlines arguably the deepest draft in decades, thanks in part to the 102 underclassmen who declared for it.
"There's some premier guys at the very top, but I think on down through the whole draft, you've got quality players and not just at one specific position," says Washington Redskins director of player personnel Scott Campbell. "You certainly will feel good about the players you're taking and the prospects there that will be there in the middle rounds."
Clowney's talent is not in doubt, though his subpar performance during his 2013 junior season raised questions. Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson, Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack are also regarded as elite prospects.
And enigmatic Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will command the spotlight regardless of when his name is called.
"Exciting, electric. He's dynamic," Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer, who holds two first-round choices (including No. 4 overall), said of Manziel. "You look at what he is as a football player, the guy turned a lot of heads."
Whichever team picks Manziel on Thursday will surely do the same.
Join WFMY News 2 online, Twitter @WFMY for live updates during the draft for Panthers information, ACC Players and other palyers from North Carolina and what team selects them. Also follow @LizCrawfordWFMY and @BrianFormica for player stats, facts and summations of the draft.
Click on USA Today Sports to see their 'mock draft'