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BCS Championship 2013: Manti Te'o's NFL Draft Stock Takes a Huge Hit

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish warms up prior to playing against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Randy ChambersAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2013

There wasn't much the Notre Dame Fighting Irish did right during the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, losing 42-14.

The offense struggled to put together any type of consistency, and the defense wasn't itself, particularly when it came to linebacker Manti Te'o. The Heisman finalist and potential first-round pick in 2013's NFL draft has certainly seen better days.

Te'o, who was easily the best player on this Irish defense and considered by many to be the best defensive player in the country, could not get going against Alabama. Most notably, it was the number of missed tackles that seemed to shock everybody who is familiar with the linebacker's style of play.

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports made note of this:

Manti Te'o has missed more tackles than he's made.

— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) January 8, 2013

Te'o was lucky to even be in the picture for the majority of the night, as he was bullied by bigger and stronger Alabama defenders. However, when the senior did have a chance to make a play, he seemed to come up empty, consistently missing tackles on the biggest stage.

Just check out this picture provided by Saturday Down South.

The guy who was known for almost never missing a tackle had a hard time wrapping up guys such as Eddie Lacy, who has a unique combination of size, power and speed. If Te'o wasn't able to prove himself against Alabama, NFL scouts have to be concerned moving forward with his draft status.

Te'o also showed that he may be limited athletically as far as speed is concerned and chasing down ball-carriers. He has done a great job of showing his ability to make plays against slower teams in the Big Ten, but against an Alabama team that is full of NFL-type speed, Te'o looked extremely slow on the field and couldn't keep up.

For somebody who was known for making a living off stopping the run and being a force in the middle, Te'o really fell flat on the biggest night of his life. This is one of the main reasons why Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has Te'o falling toward the end of the first round come April.

Te'o struggling tonight vs. run. Like I said, not an elite prospect. Poised for 15-20 range in Rd 1

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 8, 2013

Rob Rang, a draft analyst for CBS Sports, says that Te'o couldn't have had a worse performance than the one he displayed Monday night (via USA Today).

In the biggest of big games you have to play well. Rang said at halftime. The fact he's not has got to be an area of concern for any NFL talent evaluator. You don't get more NFL (offensive) talent than Alabama. You don't get a bigger stage. … For of player with his hype to not be able to make tackles, it will hurt his draft stock.

This is taking nothing away from Te'o and his remarkable career at Notre Dame. He should go down as one of the best to ever play for the Irish and should receive a ton of credit when it comes to putting this program back on the map. He was the heart of this defensive unit and should receive plenty of praise for what he has done.

But there weren’t any incredible interceptions or clutch plays in this game. There weren't any game-changing sacks or momentum-changing tackles. Instead, Te'o struggled when the lights shined the brightest, and the performance will cost him when NFL teams are trying to decide who to select in the upcoming draft.

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