ESPN analyst Mark May rarely pulls punches in his straightforward analysis, and his assessment of former Notre Dame Fighting Irish star LB Manti Te'o on Tuesday was no exception.
May took to Twitter to express his characteristic bold evaluation of Te'o's draft stock, and he vehemently disagrees with any NFL general manager that would spend a first-round pick on Te'o. He feels that the linebacker should be taken in the middle of Round 2 at the earliest.
Mark May @mark_may
Any team that wastes a 1st round pick on Manti Teo should fire their GM on draft day2013-2-26 16:25:52
Mark May @mark_may
Hes a mid to late 2nd at best2013-2-26 16:26:35
Firing one's GM for one pick seems a bit extreme, especially considering that Te'o will yet to have played a down in the pros before that prospective pink slip would be handed out.
It's clear that May is using a bit of hyperbole here, but he also is implying that Te'o is being massively overrated. A lot of the buzz surrounding the All-American has been about his rather slow 40-time of 4.82 at the NFL Scouting Combine. ESPN expert John Clayton believes that alone could drop him out of the first round.
Still, given his instincts and exceptional ability to drop back into coverage, the chances of Te'o succeeding in the NFL should not be dismissed based on one 40-time.
As Clayton notes, St. Louis Rams LB James Laurinaitis ran the same time in his combine effort, and now plays every down in the heart of the Rams' defense. A 5.00-second time posted by current New England Patriots LB Brandon Spikes dropped him to No. 62 overall (h/t Tampa Bay Times), but hasn't stopped him from thriving at the next level.
Te'o drove the Irish to end the season as the nation's top-ranked team, only to lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship.
Like those two aforementioned players, Te'o was a game-changer in college, and it's possible that some analysts such as May and others may be reading too much into one timed, straight-line run.