Is Manti Te’o a First-Round Pick?Posted: March 27, 2013
This question keeps coming up as pundits analyze who could fall out of the first-round in April’s draft.
Following a tumultuous Senior year in which Te’o ended up losing out on the Heisman to Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel (the first ever freshman Heisman winner) and the media firestorm that was the Lennay Kekua situation, Te’o is still considered to be one of the top middle linebacker prospects in the draft–but the question still arises of whether Te’o will go in the first-round.
The media is so obsessed with Te’o that he was even featured on Gruden’s QB Camp, ESPN (and former head coach) Jon Gruden’s special on ESPN as the first ever non-quarterback. Gruden had some things to say after having Te’o on his show:
Gruden praised Te’o’s high motor tendencies when playing, his ability to keep up with no-huddle high tempo offenses and the sense that he’s a leader on the defense like quarterbacks on the offense.
Some of the things you have to keep in mind about Te’o is that he isn’t a quick, athletic inside ‘backer who can drop into coverage consistently. He’ll likely be relied upon on early downs and taken off the field in clear passing situations.
Yahoo! Sports’ writer Jason Cole discussed the situation at length how Notre Dame’s pro day affected Te’o. While he may have alleviated some concerns, Cole’s interviews with scouts and team representatives seems to indicate many teams don’t have Te’o on their draft boards as a first-round pick.
Regardless of criticisms, Te’o has an impressive highlight reel, as can be seen in the compilation video below.