With the 38th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers selected linebacker Manti Te’o. There’s no doubt Te’o was the most widely talked about player in this year’s draft, for many reasons.
After a fantastic, and what most thought was an inspirational regular season at Notre Dame, Te’o was a Heisman hopeful and the leader of the National Championship-bound Fighting Irish. Although he finished second in the Heisman voting and laid a huge egg in the National Championship, these problems would soon become the least of Te’o’s worries.
Once it was found out that his dead girlfriend was fake and he was involved in arguably the biggest hoax in sports history, Te’o’s draft stock was rumored to be falling. A subpar performance at the NFL Combine didn’t exactly help, and the once first round shoe-in was looking like he may drop into the third or fourth round.
Te’o rebounded nicely in his pro day, however, and most expected him to once again be a first round pick. As we know now, Te’o was in fact not a first round pick, but instead an early second round selection by the Chargers.
Te’o, who has some of the best instincts of any defensive player in this year’s draft, will fit in perfectly in San Diego. The Chargers will have a brand new coaching staff in 2013, and Te’o will immediately be able to step in as a leader. At Notre Dame Te’o was known for his terrific leadership, and I expect that to continue in a Chargers’ uniform.
His off the field issues are very well known, but the Chargers made the right move to focus on what really matters, which is Te’o’s ability on the field.