After so much unwanted attention by the media, Manti Te’o is finally preparing to have people talk about his skills and not just his personal life. With the NFL combine beginning, Te’o is planning on showing everyone that he is one of the top prospects at the linebacker position.
The former Notre Dame linebacker will be working out with other linebackers and defensive linemen on Monday. This group will also be participating in the bench press during Sunday’s workouts.
Te’o has seen quite a drop in his draft stock in the past few weeks. After appearing to be a likely top-10 pick, he has fallen significantly down the boards. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has Te’o listed as the third overall middle linebacker, and the 44th overall player in the draft.
Miller’s projection for Te’o before combine workouts is consistent with where others have him as well. Players like Arthur Brown from Kansas State and Alec Ogletree from Georgia have begun to look like more appealing options.
These next few days will be a great opportunity for Te’o to prove that he is still a very solid pick in the NFL Draft. After all of the controversy surrounding him, people seemed to have forgotten that he was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, as well as the recipient of several other major awards.
There is little doubt that people will quickly forget about the girlfriend incident after Te’o works out in front of NFL scouts. His size and athleticism will make him a very appealing draft pick to any team who needs a middle linebacker.
In fact, several teams have expressed interest in him already. The Chicago Bears have reportedly expressed interest, and will interview with him during the combine, according to Chicago Sun-Times. The Bears have the 20th pick in the draft.
If Te’o has an impressive enough workout, the Bears may not even get the chance to pick him up. Teams like the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers will need a serious presence in the middle of the defense for the future, and Te’o could actually become a serious option after the combine.
There are few players in this year’s draft that have been under as much scrutiny as Te’o, and almost all of that attention had nothing to do with football. People have forgotten how truly dominant he was at Notre Dame, but he will remind everyone of just how good he is this weekend.