The journeys from high school to Thursday's first round of the 2019
NFL Draft before more than 200,000 rain-drenched fans in Nashville, Tenn., and a national television audience were long and unlikely for
many of the 32 picks.
Perhaps most unlikely — at least at first glance — was the top overall pick, quarterback Kyler Murray
, who at 5-foot-10 and 192 pounds, was among the smallest to hit the stage.
But Murray, who led Allen
to three state Texas state titles, has shown at every step he can play
at an elite level, including winning the Heisman Trophy last season for
Oklahoma. Sporting a pink pinstripe suit, the new Arizona Cardinals
quarterback told ESPN: "This is something I've dreamed of my whole
life. It's just
How many top picks has Texas produced since 2009?
Its the first time one state has claimed the top spot three straight seasons in the Super Bowl era.
Other high school-related highlights from Nashville on Thursday:
* The New York Giants made quarterback Daniel Jones
one of the big stories of the night by taking him with the No. 6 pick. Jones didn't carry a single recruiting star his senior high school season at Charlotte Latin (Charlotte, N.C.)
* Tight end T.J. Hockenson
was known as a basketball player in high school, earning All-State honors twice at Chariton (Iowa)
. Ranked outside the Top 50 at the tight end position by 247Sports, football was almost an afterthought. On Thursday, Hockenson was the No. 8 pick by the Lions.
* Tytus Howard
was a quarterback at Monroe County (Monroeville, Ala.)
but wasn't a college recruit at all. That's because at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, his future was as an offensive lineman. Nobody knew how he would progress. On Thursday, the now 6-foot-6, 330-pounder was the No. 23 overall pick by the Texans.
weighed 140 pounds at Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.)
and received only one college offer. He opted for junior college in California. On Thursday, he was the first receiver picked and No. 25 overall selection by the Ravens. He was moved to tears: "I thank God, my family and the Ravens for believing me," he told Suzy Kolber of ESPN. "I've had to deal with a lot. I've been told I was too small everywhere. But I worked my tail off to fight through it. I'm ready to light the NFL up."
* Defensive back Darnell Savage
of Caravel (Bear)
became just the second player from Delaware to be drafted since 2009. Projected as a fourth-round pick, Savage moved drastically up the board to the No. 21 selection of the Packers.
* Florida had five first-round picks, giving it 45 since 2009. Texas (3) now has 42 and California (1) is third with 30 first-rounders. Folsom
tackle Jonah Williams
, who starred at Alabama, was California's lone selection Thursday at No. 11 by the Bengals.
* Other states boasting players who were drafted: 2 — Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Washington; 1 — Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Virginia.