The Houston Texans beefed up their defensive line by taking extraordinary pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney from the University of South Carolina with the first pick of the 2014 National Football League Draft.
The Texans, picking first after a league-worst 2-14 season, kicked off the annual selection party by taking defensive end Clowney to partner two-time All-Pro DE JJ Watt, the league Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
To be the number one pick is the greatest feeling in the world
"I'm going to do everything I can to help the program," said Clowney, who registered 24 sacks and 130 tackles in three seasons and became the first sophomore to win the Hendricks Award as the nation's most outstanding defensive end.
"To be the number one pick is the greatest feeling in the world."
Houston needed help on both sides of the ball after finishing with the second-worst scoring average last year while allowing the eighth-most points in the league, but chose to take the player with the most potential impact in a division that features strong-armed Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Commissioner Roger Goodell was subjected to some jeering as he officially opened the draft, which produces the primary pool of talent for NFL teams as well as plenty of raucous reaction from thousands of fans in attendance decked out in team jerseys.
The St Louis Rams used the second pick of the draft to take Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson, with the Jacksonville Jaguars grabbing quarterback Blake Bortles of Central Florida University with the third choice.