Manti Te’o may have run himself right out of the first round of the NFL draft after running a very pedestrian 4.82 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. I’ve gone on record saying that the Bears should not draft Te’o – and that was before the catfishing scandal broke.
Te’o is one of college football’s most decorated linebackers, but a poor showing against Alabama in the National Championship game already cast a shadow of doubt on his legitimacy as a 3-down middle linebacker on Sundays. Can he shed blockers? Does the Heisman runner-up have the speed and strength to take on NFL sized offensive linemen and running backs? Was he simply distracted?
Shortly after the National Championship, Te’o was exposed as either the most gullible or the biggest liar in recent sports history. The fake dead girlfriend is another piece to the puzzle that is Te’o. Once it turned out that the “girlfriend” turned out to be a guy, questions of Manti’s sexual orientation came up, which Mike Florio indicates teams are trying to explore without actually asking the question. Katie Couric asked, and Te’o answered, but his credibility is pretty well shot.
His last chance to silence the haters, homophobes and doubters was at the Combine. Mission: failed. Te’o lack of speed in the 40 increases the doubt but a poor broad jump show a lack of explosiveness.
The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei thinks it’s a good time to “buy low” on Te’o, but how low will he go? If I’m one of his reps, I don’t have my guy in the Green Room at Radio City Music Hall in front of the cameras as selection after selection steps to the podium to the welcoming handshake of Commissioner Roger Goodell because he’s likely to be sitting there a while; maybe into Day 2. Here’s a situation I hadn’t considered: what it Te’o slips to the Bears in Round 2? Given all that we know about Te’o now both on and off the field, is he worth an investment?
If the Bears can address their offensive line in Round 1, would it be worth taking a shot at the naive and/or manipulative Te’o in Round 2? Would that be too much of a distraction to a team which will be defining their identity under new head coach Marc Trestman and new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker?
What do you think? Would you take a chance on Te’o who clearly has a lot to prove, but may not have the talent with which to prove it? Vote in our poll and post your comments on Te’o.