Detroit Lions: Experts Predict Linebacker Manti Te'o to Join Squad

Emily O'Neill ElmerCorrespondent IIDecember 25, 2012

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons gets ready to throw a first quarter pass while playing the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have had a bad season. Saturday's crushing 18-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons brings the Lions to 4-11, an incredibly disappointing record for a team that began the season with high hopes.  

The 2013 draft brings a glimmer of hope to the down-and-out Lions in the form of Heisman finalist and linebacker Manti Te'o. A unanimous All-American, Te'o has played an integral roll in the Fighting Irish's success this season, contributing 103 total tackles and 7 interceptions during the 2012 season. 

Experts across the sports world are predicting that Detroit will select Te'o as their first-round draft pick in 2013. 

Both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports project that Te'o will be drafted in the first round by the Lions as the fifth overall pick.

Josh Hill of FanSided also feels confident Te'o will end up on Ford Field, saying, "I had Manti Te’o going to the Lions in every single one of my mock drafts and the higher they pick the more certain the pick is."

WalterFootball sees things slightly differently, projecting Te'o will go seventh overall to the Cleveland Browns, with Detroit selecting Texas A&M defensive end/linebacker Damontre Moore as their first round pick.

I would be very surprised to see the Lions pass up on Te’o though.

Just to recap, his awards this season include: the Lott Trophy, Maxwell Award, Chuck Bednarik Award, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award and the Lombardi Award. He is one of most decorated defensive players in his school’s history, and the Lions would be crazy to pass him up. Te’o not only brings the defensive strength the team is clearly lacking, he also is a highly visible and well regarded player.

It seems that if there are no major shakeups in Week 17, Te'o will be Motor City bound. His arrival could not come at a better time for the Lions, who have struggled with their defense all season long.  

What do you think? Will Te'o join the Detroit Lions?