Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker, was not taken in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday. And so fans -- and even people who don't normally care about football -- will buzz for another 24 hours about the fake girlfriend hoax and its repercussions on his football career.
But what likely dropped Te'o to at least the second round had little to do with the tabloid-ready story of the woman who supposedly died during the season, only for the Heisman Trophy runner-up to acknowledge in January that he had been a victim of a hoax. Before those revelations, Te'o struggled in the national championship game against Alabama and its offense full of future NFL draft picks -- leaving clubs to wonder how he would fare against similar talent in the pros.
Then he ran a 4.82-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, considered 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.
The regular-season dominance by the 6-foot-1, 240-pound All-American now seems so long ago. He led one of the top defenses in the country for an undefeated team. His seven interceptions were more than any other linebacker in 2012, and he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Te'o was considered a late first-round or early second-round pick heading into the draft, which he did not attend.
Smith, the star quarterback at West Virginia, did attend the draft, but he never heard his name called. After declining an interview with ESPN and saying he would return home, Smith has changed his mind and will attend the second round Friday night, according to a league source.
Smith told ESPN's Suzy Kolber that he wasn't surprised to not be taken in the first round. She said he told her that he would "play with a chip on his shoulder, even bigger than the one he had before."
Smith was considered the No. 1 quarterback in the draft by some after throwing for 4,205 yards and 42 touchdowns this past season.
The last time just one QB went in the first round was 2001, when Michael Vick was the first overall pick.
Other big names missing from the first round Thursday night were: quarterback Matt Barkley of USC; running back Eddie Lacy of Alabama; 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 and Watson also were at Radio City Music Hall.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.