Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens need to replace Ray Lewis, but is Manti Te'o the man for the job?
In the Ravens hybrid scheme, defensive coordinator Dean Pees uses his inside linebackers almost exclusively in coverage.
According to Pro Football Focus, Lewis dropped into coverage 83.3 percent of the time he was on the field in a passing situation.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, they currently lack the personnel to run this style of defense effectively.
As demonstrated in the Super Bowl, the Ravens' primary inside linebackers—Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe—struggle in coverage.
Colin Kaepernick completed all four of his pass attempts targeted at the man covered by Lewis in the Super Bowl, picking up 73 yards—24 percent of his total yardage in the game.
Ellerbe didn't fair much better this season. Opposing quarterbacks completed 70 percent of their passes targeted at Ellerbe in 2012.
Clearly the Ravens can survive without a coverage linebacker, as they did in 2012. But since they're already forced to add a new linebacker, it would be foolish to address the need by adding someone who contributes to their biggest weakness on defense.
Despite Te'o's impressive interception total during his senior year at Notre Dame, he isn't a true coverage linebacker.
The majority of Te'o's interceptions were a product of being in the right place at the right time. This included a few interceptions from tipped balls that happened to deflect in his direction.
Te'o's strength is using his anticipation and recognition skills to defend the run.
But in this era of spread offenses and athletic, pass-catching tight ends, Te'o will struggle in coverage at the next level.
While Te'o can be an effective inside linebacker in the NFL, he will fit best on a team already employing a coverage linebacker.
The Panthers' selection of Luke Kuechley in 2012 is a great example of how Te'o should be approached by teams in this year's draft. Like Te'o, Kuechly can be a liability in coverage, but the presence of Thomas Davis made the addition of Keuchly feasible for Carolina.
Unfortunately for the Ravens, they lack a Thomas Davis-type linebacker. As a result, another run-focused linebacker such as Te'o would only contribute to their defensive weaknesses.
Better alternatives would be Georgia's Alec Ogletree or Kansas State's Arthur Brown.