In one of the most bizarre stories ever shared on the internet, Manti Te’o’s girlfriend is a hoax. That’s right, the same one that was involved in a near-death car accident and lost a hard fought battle with leukemia this year. The same one that died and inspired Te’o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Rumors continue to circulate about Teo’s involvement in creating a fake girlfriend to boost his team and draft stock.
The Detroit Lions have a chance to draft the Fighting Irish linebacker with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. After previously recommending Te’o as a possibility for the Lions, I have to back away from that opinion. Te’o was once seen as a player whose character could help the young Lions in the locker room and keep several troublesome players in place.
Te’o will watch his draft stock plummet over the next few months, and not just because of the new hoax news. Te’o had a poor BCS National Championship Game against Alabama, where the Fighting Irish lost 14-42. Alabama ran wild over Notre Dame and Te’o was a huge part of the poor rush defense. The Lions struggled stopping the run in the 2012 season and could use someone who can tackle and stop runners inside the box.
Something doesn’t sit right with the entire hoax story. Details will come out before the NFL Draft. The article on Deadspin implies that Teo’s story changed to different newspapers. The Lions would risk taking Te’o and later it coming out that he knew more than he led on. The Lions have struggled with their own problems related to marijuana, drunk driving, internal fighting and lining up wrong on purpose.
Te’o also turned down an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The Notre Dame star will be drilled by scouts and reporters at the Scouting Combine. Needless to say, with Teo’s declining draft stock, the Lions would be taking a huge risk on taking the linebacker at the number five spot. There are other needs of the Lions, like cornerback and defensive end, that the team should be more concerned about. Let someone else gamble on Te’o.