Geno Smith had 17 300-yard games and a school-record 11,662 passing yards while at West Virginia.
Falling stars Manti Te’o and Geno Smith were drafted with successive picks in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but two of the top quarterback prospects in the class were still on the board through three rounds and 97 picks.
The Heisman finalists, projected by many as first-round prospects, watched 37 players drafted before the San Diego Chargers traded up to select Notre Dame’s Te’o 38th overall.
“We did a lot of work on Te’o and I’ve seen him for a number of years,” said Chargers GM Tom Telesco, who worked for the Colts for the expanse of Te’o’s career in South Bend, Ind. “He loves football. He’s passionate about it. He loves to practice. He loves to play. “
The Jets, who said they discussed drafting Smith 13th overall, got him 26 picks later Friday.
“I think it was a test of patience, a test of character, and I wanted to make it my duty to come back (to Radio City Music Hall) today and still represent for my family and all of those who support me,” Smith said.
Controversial LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, out of football last season because of multiple failed marijuana tests, was reunited with former Tigers’ teammate and mentor Patrick Peterson. Mathieu, the 69th overall pick, was the third pick in the third round.
“Seven months ago I didn’t think I’d be in this situation.” Mathieu said, noting in an interview at his draft party New Orleans that the Cardinals made it clear his contract would include morals clauses. “I had everything taken away from me. I kept pushing, I kept fighting. I’m just so happy that someone else had faith in me -- that someone else believes in me.”
Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley was still on the board when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon with pick No. 73. Only two other quarterbacks -- EJ Manuel 16th overall and Smith -- went in the first two rounds. Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, thought to be in the first-round conversation entering the draft, hasn’t been picked, either.
It was the longest draft wait ever for the first running back to be chosen -- 37th overall -- when the Cincinnati Bengals drafted North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard, the first of five running backs taken in the second round.
One pick later, the San Diego Chargers moved up seven spots from No. 45 in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals to select Te’o, one the most scrutinized players in the draft. But he was also one of the most productive college players in four years at Notre Dame.
Smith followed Te’o off the board and was greeted by commissioner Roger Goodell on the stage at Radio City Music Hall. He’ll be a long-term tenant in the region and add a new level of drama to the Jets’ quarterback picture.
Smith had 17 300-yard games and a school-record 11,662 passing yards in the offensive scheme popularized first by former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. He completed 71.2 percent of his passes in 2012.
Le’Veon Bell, a 240-pound bulldozing running back from Michigan State, gets a chance to be the next “Bus” in Pittsburgh. Bell was selected 11 picks after NFC North rival Cincinnati chose Bernard. After Denver snagged Wisconsin workhorse Montee Ball with the 58th pick, Alabama junior running back Eddie Lacy was drafted next-to-last in the second round by the Green Bay Packers.
Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien was the first pick in the second round to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Tennessee Titans acquired the 34th overall pick, No. 2 in the second round, to draft University of Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter and the Philadelphia Eagles followed with Stanford’s Zach Ertz, a 6-5, 249-pound receiving tight end who caught 15 touchdowns in his college career. Ertz led FBS tight ends with 69 receptions in 2012. The Dallas Cowboys used their second pick in the 2013 draft (47th overall) on San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar, who is considered a special athlete because of his height, long arms and agility.
In a continued effort to build their defense, the Detroit Lions used the fourth pick in the second round on Mississippi State’s Darius Slay, who was the fastest cornerback timed at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.
A handful of inside linebackers were drafted shortly after Te’o. The Cardinals selected LSU’s Kevin Minter and with the next pick, the Buffalo Bills chose Oregon’s Kiko Alonso and with the 50th overall pick, the Chicago Bears drafted Florida linebacker Jonathan Bostic. It was the highest pick spent on a linebacker by the Bears since drafting Brian Urlacher in the first round in 2000.
Baltimore dealt up to get the 56th pick from the Seattle Seahawks and drafted Kansas State inside linebacker Arthur Brown. The 2012 Big 12 defensive player of the year could start as a rookie as the likely replacement for Ray Lewis. Seattle capped the second round with Texas A&M running back Christine Michael.
There were only 30 picks in the second round. The New Orleans Saints (bounty scandal) and Cleveland Browns (2012 supplemental draft, wide receiver Josh Gordon) forfeited their second-rounders.