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    Manti Te’o, Geno Smith taken in second round of NFL draft

    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.

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    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 title 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 reasons to doubt his worthiness as a first-round pick.

    He was the third linebacker chosen in this draft.

    ‘‘It’s a perfect scenario. My parents can come and watch, I can go home, it’s San Diego,’’ said Te’o, a native of Hawaii. ‘‘I can’t be any happier.’’

    With the very next pick, the Jets sent their QB situation spiraling into further chaos. They already have Mark Sanchez, who struggled last season but was brought back in great part because of a prohibitive contract. They still have Tim Tebow, who almost certainly soon will be cut. They signed David Garrard, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2010.


    And now there is Smith, who waited futilely throughout the first round, returned Friday and was rewarded.

    ‘‘It’s extremely relieving. I withstood the test of time,’’ he said. ‘‘It felt like forever in there.’’

    Smith looked embarrassed and frustrated Thursday night on national TV during the first round, sitting back stage at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan as pick after pick came and went, and he remained seated and wondered where he’d end up — and when. He originally planned to head back home Friday, but opted to stay for the second day of the draft.

    ‘‘Right now, none of that matters,’’ Smith said during a conference call. ‘‘My time has come now.’’

    It’s the second straight year the Jets have made major news at the quarterback position, and none of it has been good for Sanchez, although he agreed to a contract extension last offseason. But 12 days later, the Jets stunned the rest of the league — and Sanchez — by trading for Tim Tebow.

    The selection of Smith by new general manager John Idzik seriously clouds the future of Sanchez, the team’s first-rounder in 2009 who led the Jets to consecutive AFC championship game appearances but has struggled mightily the past two seasons. Smith could compete for the starting job this season with Sanchez, who is owed $8.25 million in guaranteed money this season.

    ‘‘I’m coming in with intentions to compete,’’ Smith said. ‘‘We’ll see where it goes from there.’’

    Safety Johnathan Cyprien of Florida International was the first selection of the second round.

    Other second-round picks Friday were Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter by the Titans, who traded up with San Francisco; Stanford All-America tight end Zach Ertz by Philadelphia; and North Carolina’s Gio Bernard, the first running back chosen, by Cincinnati.

    After no running backs were selected in the first round, there were five taken in the second. The presumed top-rated back, Eddie Lacy of Alabama, went with the next-to-last selection of the round, to Green Bay. NCAA record-setting RB Montee Ball of Wisconsin was chosen by Denver.