The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

April 26, 2013

Chargers draft Te'o, Smith goes to Jets

NEW YORK —  Manti Te’o and Geno Smith provided the sizzle previously missing from the NFL draft.

Te’o is headed to San Diego, Smith is a Jet, and Radio City Music Hall shook with the kind of noise usually heard in stadiums when they were selected.

The theater rocked with two picks within minutes of each other Friday night. Te’o, the Notre Dame All-America linebacker, was chosen sixth in the second round by the Chargers, drawing a loud roar from the fans. One spot later, the Jets took the West Virginia quarterback, drawing a raucous reaction of cheers and boos.

The big names had taken over from the bulk and beef of opening night, when 18 linemen went in the first round.

Among those who didn’t go were quarterbacks Matt Barkley of Southern California, Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse; South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, who is recovering from a severe knee injury; and two starters from national champion Alabama, OL Barrett Jones and DT Jesse Williams.  

No state players were taken in the second day. The concludes today with the fourth through the seventh rounds.

Te’o, who led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game, was projected as a first-rounder last year. But his poor performance in a rout at the hands of Alabama, some slow 40-yard dash times, and a tabloid-ready hoax involving a fake girlfriend that became a national soap opera dropped his stock.

“I did expect to go in the first round,” Te’o said. “But things happened and all it did was give me more motivation.”

The Chargers traded up with Arizona to grab Te’o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

“We did a lot of work on Te’o and I’ve seen him for a number of years,” first-year general manager Tom Telesco said.  “He loves football. He’s passionate about it. He loves to practice. He loves to play.”

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