2013 NFL Draft: Manti Te'o Being Selected by New Orleans Saints Isn't Far Off Base

By Erica Blackburn
Manti Te'o
Matt Cashore – USA Today Sports

It’s draft time, and it appears that every week, a new mock draft is put out and it stirs up emotions. ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr put out a new mock draft, and for the most part his drafts look very similar, but in this case he threw  a monkey wrench into the lives of all Who Dat Nation fans across the country. Manti Te’o to the New Orleans Saints?

As Kiper elegantly put it, Te’o could go No. 15 overall–which is the New Orleans Saints’ pick for now–simply because the right players aren’t available at the no. 15 spot. As I contemplate, this prediction isn’t totally off the wall.

We all know that the Saints had an absolutely terrible defense last season mainly because they couldn’t produce a pass rush to save their lives. Also, the opposing wide receivers seemingly had career numbers against the weak secondary. Many draft experts believe that the Saints will focus on a dynamic pass rusher and cornerback. Many Saints fans are adamantly screaming “NO” to picking up Te’o, but truthfully I don’t see why not.

New Orleans is shifting to a 3-4 defense, and their options at inside linebacker currently are Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Vilma. There was speculation that the Saints would cut Vilma because he apparently had issues with producing in a 3-4 defense back in New York. He also has battled knee injuries since 2011 and he flat out isn’t the same player that was wreaking havoc on teams during the Saints’ Super Bowl run in 2009. I believe Vilma is a great leader and can produce but it wouldn’t hurt adding Te’o to the mix.

Te’o is a great leader as well. His intangibles can’t be measured. He puts his best foot forward in every game and his effort outweighs some of his deficiencies. Te’o is also a good nine years younger than Vilma, fresher legs and great instincts. His senior year at Notre Dame was obviously his best, tallying 113 tackles, 55 solo, 1.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, 11 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. That’s some resume considering how Te’o came out of the woodwork this past college season.

NFL executives around the league have stated that Te’o is a first round pick because he aced all his interviews. Just set aside the horrendous National Championship game versus Alabama and his little girlfriend hoax, and look at the big picture. The totality of his senior season shouldn’t be disregarded because of his bad play in the National Championship game nor the girlfriend hoax. He is a hard worker, dedicated and a great leader which is why I believe he would be a solid pickup for the New Orleans Saints.

All you have to do is tell Te’o “go get the ball” and he may not be the fastest, but he find a way to close the gap between him and a running back quick, fast and in a hurry. He proved that his senior year at Notre Dame. Let’s rethink this, Who Dat Nation!

Erica Blackburn is a Writer for the New Orleans Saints at Rant Sports. Add her on Facebook or add her to you network on Google. 

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