Manti Te'o, Menelik Watson selected on second day of NFL Draft

Last Updated: 27/04/13 11:36am

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Manti Te'o: Selected by the San Diego Chargers

Manti Te'o: Selected by the San Diego Chargers

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Manti Te'o and Menelik Watson were two of the biggest names to be taken on the second day of the NFL Draft in New York.

Te'o, who was at the centre of an infamous internet hoax, was taken 38th by the San Diego Chargers while the Oakland Raiders used pick No 42 to take Watson, who spent his childhood in Manchester.

The call Te'o had been hoping for in Thursday's first round finally came some 24 hours later when he learned that he would be starting his professional career with the Chargers.

Te'o dropped down the draft board on the basis of his performance in the BCS Championship game for Notre Dame in January, although some officials admitted they were also concerned about his off-field issues.

The linebacker was at the centre of a bizarre hoax over the turn of the year, when it was revealed he had been duped into an internet romance with a girlfriend that he had never met.

Te'o received national headlines for his performances last season after learning that his grandmother, and the person he believed to be his girlfriend, had died within hours of one another in September.

He used the inspiration to put in performances worthy of him being voted as runner-up in the Heisman Trophy, which is the award given to college football's best player.

But he appeared to be a different player in January, after the hoax had been exposed, and his performances at the scouting combine gave more cause for concern, dropping him out of the first round - at one point he had been expected to be a top-10 pick.

More motivation

"I did expect to go in the first round," Te'o said. "But things happened and all it did was give me more motivation to get better.

"I don't know if I have something to prove but it definitely puts a huge fire under my butt just to be better, I'm already a naturally motivated person who wants to be his best.

"All Thursday did was just give me more motivation and more fire to go out there and play football and do well at it."

Offensive tackle Watson's rise to the NFL is also a story worthy of Hollywood, having been brought up in one of Manchester's toughest neighbourhoods.

Watson soon gave up dreams of a football career but it was through basketball that he eventually made it to the United States, earning a college scholarship at Marist in 2009 after a spell in Spain.

Although Watson stands 6ft 7ins tall, it became clear he was too small for his preferred position, and after a time when he thought about a career in boxing, he moved to a junior college in California to start playing 'American' football.

He impressed during a crash course in yet another sport and by the end of his sixth game, his coach Mark McElroy was already fielding calls from coaches around the country.

Watson was eventually recruited by Florida State in January 2012 and went on to start 12 of the 13 games he appeared in, helping the Seminoles offense amass nearly 7,000 yards in a record-breaking season.

He goes to a Raiders team that finished 4-12 last season and could be called upon as a starter as a rookie.

Crawley-born Tom Wort, a linebacker, and London 2012 discus finalist Lawrence Okoye, who has never played in a competitive American football game, went undrafted but that could change on Saturday when the final four rounds will be completed - any undrafted players can also be picked up as free agents after the weekend.

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