In King’s article, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said, “Our plan is for him to play three downs, and when we scouted him, we believed that’s what he’d be. But he’ll have to earn that, obviously. We’re going to play the best guys, and if he’s the best guy on all three downs, he’ll be in there.”
This is a vote of confidence for Te’o and has to be huge for his psyche after he went from being a potential top-10 pick, to a potential mid-first round pick to finally being selected in round two.
Te’o’s draft stock dropped after he and his Notre Dame Fighting Irish teammates played terrible in the National Title Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Te’o’s draft stock continued to fall after a fake girlfriend hoax, which brought his character into question by NFL owners, general managers and coaches.
Te’o had a very successful collegiate career, which he will try to build on in the NFL. Donald Butler will start at one of the inside linebacker positions and it sounds like the Mike linebacker spot is Te’o’s to lose.
There will be high expectations for Te’o as some have already tried to make the Junior Seau comparisons. Seau last played with San Diego in 2002 so Te’o will not be his successor, which takes away some pressure. Te’o is fortunate for this unlike Ryan Mathews who succeeded another Chargers all-time great LaDainian Tomlinson after he signed with the New York Jets in 2010.
San Diego has decided to protect Te’o from the media, but hopefully the coaching staff will not protect Te’o by putting him on the bench in certain situations.