The most scrutinized NFL prospect after the combine had to be linebacker Manti Te’o. This of course is no surprise, after the whole ‘fake dead girlfriend’ incident altered the way many thought about the Heisman runner-up.
Te’o ran a not so great 4.82/40-yard dash, and failed overall to impress during his numerous workouts at the combine. He earned a 87.5 rating, which labels him as an ‘impact player.’
The once top-10 pick, is now being viewed as a potential first-rounder. After a bad performance in the National Championship game, and one of the most bizarre stories in sports history, Te’o is being looked at in a complete different light.
The Minnesota Vikings are one of the teams in position to draft Te’o. At No.23 the Vikings figure to be near the range where the linebacker would realistically go. The question, is he worth the risk?
At this point, the answer is – no. Te’o has too many question marks to risk a first round pick on. I’m a firm believer of going with ‘sure things’ in round one, and Te’o just seems pretty far from a sure thing. All that being said though, I would not be opposed to the Vikings trying to acquire him by trading up in draft.
If Te’o does start to plummet (like many think he could), and the right situation presented itself early in the second round, I would be okay with the Vikings making a move to get the linebacker. You have to remember, Minnesota has nine picks, and GM Rick Spielman used a similar tactic in last year’s draft.
Spielman traded up to the No.29 spot to grab safety Harrison Smith, and we all witnessed what a difference two first round picks made on the roster. Now clearly, the Vikings don’t have a great shot to get two first round picks again, but if Te’o is still on the board early in the second round, I wouldn’t put it past Spielman to go for him (of course if he liked Te’o after their meeting).
So is Manti Te’o the franchise linebacker many thought he was? Probably not, but he’s still going to have a very good NFL career if he can stay focused on football and utilize the intangibles many think he has. It will be interesting the see where he does get drafted, and just how interested the Vikings will be in acquiring him if he becomes available.
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