All's well that ends well for Terrell Manning. The former N.C. State linebacker had to wait longer than he expected to get picked on Saturday in the NFL draft, but he ended up with one of the best teams in the league.
While Manning waited, the Green Bay Packers took him with their fifth-round pick, No. 163 overall, Wake Forest had three players go off the board in the fourth round and fourth in the fifth round. The four draft picks tied the school record from 2009.
Receiver Chris Givens didn't have to wait at all on Saturday, as the three-day extravaganza concluded with rounds four through seven. The St. Louis Rams made Givens the first pick of the fourth round, 96th overall, as the draft kicked off.
Former Wake teammates linebacker Kyle Wilber (113th overall, Dallas Cowboys), guard Joe Looney (117th overalll, San Francisco 49ers) and safety Josh Bush followed Givens.
Manning, who had hoped to get picked on Friday, in either the second or third round, watched Saturday's broadcast of the draft with great anticipation and anxiety. For about an hour, Manning's name was the top one on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper's list of the "best available players."
"That's what made it worse," Manning said. "It was a long wait, but it was definitely a relief and definitely worth it."
Manning, as a fourth-year junior, led the ACC with 14.5 tackles for loss despite only playing 11 games and missing three quarters of another game because of a knee injury. His return, after missing losses to Cincinnati and Georgia Tech, boosted N.C. State's defense and helped the Wolfpack finish 8-5, with a bowl win, after a 2-3 start.
Manning, who finished the season with 82 tackles, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions, had a season of eligibility left with the Wolfpack but opted to enter the draft and ended up with a different Pack.
The Packers, Super Bowl champions a year ago, went 15-1 during the regular season but were knocked out in their opening playoff game by the New York Giants, this year's Super Bowl winner.
With one of the NFL's best offenses but the last-ranked defense in total yardage, the Packers went heavy in the draft on defense. The Packers' first six picks were all on the defensive side of the ball.
"It's a great situation for me," Manning said. "The Packers are a great team and I'm just looking forward for the chance to learn next to a player like (linebacker) Clay Matthews."