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Sports

April 27, 2013

Te'o's time is 2nd round, 6th pick to San Diego

NEW YORK — Manti Te’o is headed to San Diego.

Geno Smith is a Jet.

Radio City Music Hall was relatively silent for five second-round picks Thursday night. Then the theater shook with two selections within minutes of each other.

The Notre Dame All-America linebacker was chosen sixth in the second round by the Chargers, drawing a loud roar from the fans at Radio City Music Hall. One spot later, the Jets took the West Virginia quarterback, drawing a raucous reaction of cheers and boos.

Early in Friday’s proceedings, the big names had taken over from the bulk and beef of opening night, when 18 linemen went in the first round.

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 workouts, 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.”

When former Chargers defensive back Jim Hill was handed the card to make the announcement by Commissioner Roger Goodell, he was told, “You’re going to get a big cheer when you announce this pick.”

It was more a mix of surprise and recognition of the most talked-about player in the draft finally finding a landing spot at No. 38 overall.

The Chargers traded up with Arizona to grab Te’o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up. Te’o ran a 4.82-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, slow for a linebacker. He did better at Notre Dame’s pro day, but NFL teams already had plenty of football reasons to doubt his worthiness as a first-round pick.

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