The Buffalo Bills gambled on speed Friday night, selecting Texas’ wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, the fastest player in the draft.
The Bills picked Goodwin, an Olympic long jumper, in the third round with the 78th overall choice. Although Goodwin was only a part-time starter during his career at UT, catching 120 career passes, he zoomed up the draft board as soon as he ran a 4.27-second, 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine two months ago.
“They had talked to me and told me they loved my speed and loved what I could do on the field,” Goodwin said of the Bills. “I just needed an opportunity to show what I could do. And the Bills gave me the opportunity. They drafted me, and I’m really excited and looking forward to it.”
The draft Friday was for rounds two and three. Teams sifted through their draft boards for the players who might’ve received a first-round grade, but for various reasons, fell out of the opening 32 picks.
The headliners of the second round were Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.
San Diego used the 38th pick on Te’o, the Heisman Trophy finalist, who went through a humiliating scandal in January. That’s when the nation discovered that Te’o’s girlfriend, who everyone thought died in the fall, was alive and well and actually a man.
“I did expect to go in the first round,” Te’o told reporters. “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 to just be better.”
Smith was ranked as the top quarterback in the draft and was invited to New York for the festivities. He wore a new suit and sat in the waiting room at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night for the entire first round. His mother bought him a gold sweater Friday so her son would have something to wear that night for the draft.
Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round. The New York Jets used pick No. 39 on Smith.
Smith was asked about the anxious wait he had Thursday.
“It’s not that I don’t smile,” Smith told reporters in New York. “I just kind of take that to heart, the things that happened yesterday. But I’m not going to sit here and say its something I’ll use as fuel or extra motivation, because I’m already motivated.”
Only three quarterbacks have heard their names in the draft, meaning Southern California’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones are available for a steal in Saturday’s later rounds.
Two Texas A&M players also were selected Friday. And both were surprises.
Running back Christine Michael, who started only two games as a senior, was picked by Seattle in the second round.
No running backs were drafted Thursday, but Michael was one of five selected in the second round.
Three months ago, Aggie defensive end Damontre Moore was a candidate for the top five. He dropped all the way to the third round, where the New York Giants selected him at pick No. 19.
Scouts were underwhelmed by Moore’s performance at the combine, when he was the weakest defensive lineman in the bench press and one of the slowest ends in the 40.
Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown (Baltimore) was the only other Big 12 player taken in the second round. Two league receivers were selected in the third — Baylor’s Terrance Williams (Dallas) and West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey (St. Louis).
Two players with local ties were overlooked Friday and must wait for Saturday’s action.
Texas defensive end Alex Okafor, a former Pflugerville star, was projected as a second or third-rounder. And Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope, formerly of Westlake High, received a third-round grade after his combine performance.
Swope, A&M’s all-time leading receiver, tied for the second-fastest player in the draft after Goodwin.