Chicago Bears: Is Manti Te'o the Next Brian Urlacher?

By Andrew Fisher
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If middle linebacker wasn’t already a priority for the Chicago Bears, it certainly rose to the top of the list when a deal couldn’t be struck with Brian Urlacher. By the sounds of it, the Bears may have decided to move on awhile back, but that’s another story. The issue at hand – replacing Urlacher. Solution? Many have them drafting Manti Te’o with the 20th pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

It should first be said, that whoever replaces Urlacher in Chicago, has a huge task in front of them. We’re talking the epitome of legendary when it comes to players and franchises. This is not a one-year process for the Bears, it’s something that will take time.

But is Manti Te’o really the man for the job?

In theory, he makes sense. He should be available when the Bears select in the first round, and he’s one of the top linebackers in this year’s class. But just how good Te’o is, that’s up for debate.

The general consensus is that he’s a solid football player, who at minimum, should come in and contribute right away. However, his numbers from the combine weren’t great, and he disappointed on the big stage in the National Championship game. I don’t know how much stock you can put into those two things, but they certainly won’t help him get a larger contract in the pros.

All in all, Te’o seems to be a good linebacker who should see the field right away in the NFL. But is that good enough for the Bears?

I think Te’o would be better served to go to a team that’s less in the spotlight. Chicago is a high-profile sports town, and after the whole dead girlfriend situation, Te’o really doesn’t need any more pressure or drama. The bright lights of Chicago could be too much for him.

Te’o is a late first round talent, who should be judged as such. If drafted to play in the Windy City, expectations would rise exponentially, and to a level that Te’o probably couldn’t meet.

So, is Te’o the next Brian Urlacher for the Bears? I don’t think so. He could be a quality player for them, but I just don’t see him filling the legendary linebacker’s shoes over the long haul.


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