For Manti Te’o, the wait is finally over.
The star linebacker from the University of Notre Dame was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, who traded with the Arizona Cardinals to move up to the sixth pick of the second round, 38th overall.
One of the most-talked about players in this year’s draft, Te’o was projected to be a high first round selection following a year in which he led the Fighting Irish to the BCS National Championship game. However, following the scandal regarding his online “relationship” with a girl who never existed, and a relatively poor scouting combine performance, questions arose about whether Te’o would fit in an NFL locker room, both on and off the field.
The Chargers do fill somewhat of a need with this selection. Of the seven linebackers on their roster, none has more than three years of NFL experience. Takeo Spikes led the team in tackles from the linebacker spot last season with 78, but the team’s choice to release the veteran defender leaves an opening for Te’o to step in and play this season.
To me, this is clearly a good move for the team. Anytime you can get someone with first-round talent in the second-round, you need to make the move. Te’o may not blow anybody away with his workout numbers, but he can simply play. Whether he’ll be able to deal with the “catfishing” heckling that is sure to come his way will be a test, but it was clear that he was a leader on the Notre Dame defense in 2012. If he can bring that same quality to San Diego, this could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft.