NEW YORK – The wait is over for Jadeveon Clowney.
As expected, the most talented player coming out of college football was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.
And he belongs to the Houston Texans, ending the suspense for the possibility that a blockbuster trade could send Clowney elsewhere.
A 6-6, 270-pound defensive end from South Carolina, Clowney became the first defensive player chosen No. 1 overall since the Texans took defensive end Mario Williams in 2006.
Following last year's pick by the Kansas City Chiefs of offensive tackle Eric Fisher, it marks the first time since 1996-97 that a quarterback was not taken with the top pick in consecutive years.
Clowney, for one, has been expecting this moment for months.
As he reiterated on the eve of the draft, going No. 1 has long been a personal goal.
The biggest mystery, though, seemed to be whether another team – possibly the Atlanta Falcons or Buffalo Bills – could swing a trade that would allow them to land Clowney. Texans GM Rick Smith indicated in recent days that he was open to dealing the pick, and speculation about that possibility intensified in the days leading up to the draft.
Now the question is whether Clowney – who has already been compared to some of the all-time greats and hailed as a once-in-a-generation prospect – can live up to the hype and expectations that come with his lofty status.
In the Texans' 3-4 defense, it's expected that he could convert to outside linebacker that will be fashioned around his tremendous skill as a pass-rusher.
No doubt, Clowney has the physical tools. He likely cemented his draft position at the NFL combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds – fastest for any prospect over 265 pounds since 2006, according to ESPN research.
Now he's got fastest first step in the draft, too.