Manti & Co. Still On The Board Going Into Friday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There were plenty of big names missing from the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night: Manti Te’o, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley.

And every running back in this year’s crop.

The biggest surprise might have been quarterbacks Smith and Barkley being trumped by Florida State’s EJ Manuel, who was the only QB selected. The last time just one went in the first round was 2001, when Michael Vick was the first overall pick.

Teams might have been scared away from Te’o because of the Notre Dame linebacker’s poor performance in a championship game rout at the hands of Alabama. Or because of the fake girlfriend hoax he was ensnared in and which became a national soap opera.

“We’ve kind of taken him off the board,” an unnamed scout recently told the Milwaukee Sentinel. “He doesn’t have enough ability to put up with all that. Why fool with it? Try-hard, smart guy. This was the first year he’s really gotten himself in shape. Some of his teammates think he’s kind of a phony.”

Smith looked like a lock to be selected not only in the opening round, but with a high choice, when West Virginia got off to a sensational start last season. But he slumped, as did the Mountaineers, and his stock dropped.

Barkley was projected as a high pick last year had he skipped his final season at Southern California. He stayed, the Trojans struggled and Barkley injured his throwing shoulder.

With questions about his arm strength and poise in the pocket, he slipped out of the first round.

The top-rated running back was Eddie Lacy of Alabama, and unlike three Crimson Tide teammates taken in a row (ninth-11th), he was ignored. It was the first time since 1963 that no running back went in the opening round.

Other highly rated players not selected Thursday included linebackers Arthur Brown of Kansas State and Kevin Minter of LSU; tight end Zach Ertz of Stanford; tackle Menelik Watson of Florida State; and defensive lineman Damontre Moore of Texas A&M.

Lacy, Smith and Watson were at Radio City Music Hall.

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