Washington Redskins Could Use Manti Te’o

By Greg Bradshaw
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins had deficiencies on their defensive unit, as the unit finished 28th in total yards allowed. The defense was ravaged by injuries and, in the case of safety Tanard Jackson, suspension. The unit did play better during the Redskins’ seven game winning streak that ended their 2012 NFL regular season. Nevertheless, the defense can use a young playmaker for solidification.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish senior linebacker Manti Te’o has been in the news recently for his involvement in an imaginary girlfriend hoax. As many fans know, Te’o was a candidate for the 2012 Heisman Trophy. He played inspired football fueled by the death of his grandmother and his online girlfriend, which occurred only days apart. There was only one problem: Te’o’s deceased girlfriend never existed. It was all a hoax.

Either Te’o concocted this elaborate hoax to enhance his brand, or he continued to live the lie in an effort to minimize his embarrassment. In any event, a player having his name attached to something of this magnitude has the potential to destroy his credibility. Needless to say, it has the potential to decrease his draft stock.

That wouldn’t deter the Redskins, considering their linebacker corps could use a player of Te’o’s caliber. Washington linebacker and defensive captain London Fletcher was solid for the Redskins in 2012. But he’ll be 38 when the 2013 season begins. There’s no guarantee Fletcher can duplicate the consistency he  Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo missed most of the 2012 season with an injured right triceps. How effective he’ll be in 2013 remains to be seen.

Linebacker Rob Jackson exhibited efficiency for Washington in 2012 while replacing Orakpo. Jackson recorded 4.5 sacks and four interceptions, many of which occurred in clutch situations for the Redskins. However, it’s unreasonable to expect Jackson to duplicate his 2012 contributions in 2013. He’s primarily a special teams player pressed into action because of Orakpo’s injury.

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has quietly become a steady performer from his outside linebacker spot, leading the Redskins in sacks with 8.5. Meanwhile, inside linebacker Perry Riley has only been average. He’s probably better suited for reserve duty.

Te’o would be a welcome addition to provide depth to Washington’s defense. Unfortunately, Te’o may never wear a Redskins’ uniform. Washington doesn’t have a first round pick in 2013, and Te’o will surely be off the board sooner than many may think. The Redskins might consider trading reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins for a possible first round selection. If Washington wants to shore up their defense, maybe this is the route they need to consider to get Te’o.

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