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In this draft class, everyone is following Johnny Football

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While there’s no consensus No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL draft, there is a clear leader when sizing up the prospects by their social media followings.

 
Consensus No. 1: Johnny Manziel tops the rest of the 2014 NFL draft class in both Twitter and Instagram followers.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Johnny Manziel.

The former Texas A&M quarterback blows away the field of fellow draft prospects in terms of social media. As of last week, “Johnny Football” had more than 1.5 million followers on his verified Twitter and Instagram accounts — well clear of the No. 2 player in the ranking, AJ McCarron.

The former Alabama quarterback had more than 276,000 followers, while another former SEC player, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina, ranked third, with more than 155,000 followers.

The ranking compares players listed as top prospects for this year’s draft (May 8-10) by NFL.com or CBSSports.com.

   

Khalil Mack (center) sits far behind Jadeveon Clowney, AJ McCarron.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES (3)

In general, skill position players, along with players from big schools and top conferences, dominate the list. But on the flip side, there are several projected high draft picks who don’t score nearly as high among all the prospects for their social media followings — for now, at least. Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, who continues to move up draft boards,
comes in at No. 50 in the ranking. The tackle who protected Manziel’s blind side at Texas A&M, Jake Matthews — also a projected early draft pick — sits outside the top 50 here.

Several players not expected to be selected high in the draft have sizable social media followings in their own right. Chief among them is Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL prospect. The former Missouri defensive end famously joined Twitter right before his February announcement and has collected more than 95,000 followers on that platform since then.

Other players of note with large followings based on their collegiate success but not expected to be selected in the draft’s early rounds are Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.

NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS RANKED BY SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING
Number of Followers
Rank Player School Position Twitter Instagram Total
1 Johnny Manziel Texas A&M QB 785,288 730,376 1,515,664
2 AJ McCarron Alabama QB 276,249 276,249
3 Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina DE 89,278 65,772 155,050
4 Sammy Watkins Clemson WR 71,128 57,813 128,941
5 Tre Mason Auburn RB 53,925 60,595 114,520
6 Carlos Hyde Ohio State RB 64,961 40,464 105,425
7 Mike Evans Texas A&M WR 31,977 66,530 98,507
8 Odell Beckham Jr. LSU WR 28,613 67,214 95,827
9 Bradley Roby Ohio State CB 52,346 29,466 81,812
10 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Alabama S 55,642 18,033 73,675
11 C.J. Mosley Alabama LB 59,984 11,460 71,444
12 Teddy Bridgewater Louisville QB 30,986 19,083 50,069
13 Kelvin Benjamin Florida State WR 17,277 32,142 49,419
14 Louis Nix Notre Dame DT 33,463 11,838 45,301
15 Marqise Lee USC WR 22,780 14,223 37,003
16 Donte Moncrief Ole Miss WR 22,949 13,486 36,435
17 Blake Bortles Central Florida QB 16,882 15,537 32,419
18 Stephon Tuitt Notre Dame DE 20,719 8,382 29,101
19 Justin Gilbert Oklahoma State CB 10,894 17,122 28,016
20 Darqueze Dennard Michigan State CB 15,416 8,999 24,415
21 Dee Ford Auburn DE 16,285 7,064 23,349
22 Allen Robinson Penn State WR 16,158 4,286 20,444
23 Taylor Lewan Michigan OT 18,583 745 19,328
24 Ja’Wuan James Tennessee OT 13,792 5,079 18,871
25 Eric Ebron North Carolina TE 9,726 8,076 17,802
26 Timmy Jernigan Florida State DT 17,536 17,536
27 Ryan Shazier Ohio State LB 7,842 8,926 16,768
28 Brandin Cooks Oregon State WR 8,528 7,983 16,511
29 Bishop Sankey Washington RB 8,919 7,182 16,101
30 Calvin Pryor Louisville S 8,470 7,082 15,552
31 Anthony Barr UCLA LB 7,200 8,173 15,373
32 Aaron Donald Pittsburgh DT 3,752 11,143 14,895
33 Kyle Van Noy BYU LB 12,728 12,728
34 Derek Carr Fresno State QB 7,322 3,909 11,231
35 Cody Latimer Indiana WR 2,950 7,887 10,837
36 Cyrus Kouandjio Alabama OT 7,699 1,835 9,534
37 Jordan Matthews Vanderbilt WR 9,288 9,288
38 Zach Martin Notre Dame OT 6,421 1,852 8,273
39 Jimmy Garoppolo Eastern Illinois QB 5,089 2,254 7,343
40 Kyle Fuller Virginia Tech CB 4,989 1,881 6,870
41 Greg Robinson Auburn OT 6,206 6,206
42 Marcus Smith Louisville DE 4,431 1,719 6,150
43 Kony Ealy Missouri DE 3,701 2,376 6,077
44 Davante Adams Fresno State WR 1,251 4,716 5,967
45 Xavier Su’a-Filo UCLA OG 3,208 2,164 5,372
46 Jason Verrett TCU CB 4,732 4,732
47 Morgan Moses Virginia OT 2,917 1,554 4,471
48 Ra’Shede Hageman Minnesota DT 2,875 1,455 4,330
49 Deone Bucannon Washington State S 2,027 2,083 4,110
50 Khalil Mack Buffalo OLB 3,857 3,857

Note: Numbers as of April 22
Source: Players' official Twitter and Instagram pages, where verified pages were available.


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