After a poor performance at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, Manti Te'o adamantly believes he'll run faster at his pro day at Notre Dame on March 26.
Per the Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton, Te'o said:
Obviously, faster than a 4.8. We’ll see what happens. ... I think the 40 time measures what the 40 time is supposed to measure. I think that’s something that I’m going to get better. The only way from here is up, so I’m definitely going to get better at that. ... Obviously, I can get faster in my 40.
If the young man has aspirations of nailing down a spot in the first round of the NFL draft, he needs to back up his talk.
Te'o said after the combine that stress had a lot to do with his poor time (h/t Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio), and it's not hard to imagine he felt stressed to the max, given his unique and trying off-field circumstances.
According to Hamilton's report, Te'o said he has posted 4.6-second 40 times during his training. If he manages to match or better this mark at his pro day, it will prove he's fast enough to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL.
If the former Notre Dame star can't put up a time better than 4.75 seconds, teams won't be convinced he's capable of keeping up with NFL slot receivers and running backs, making him a two-down linebacker and a player not worthy of a Round 1 selection.
NFL personnel men are likely encouraged by Te'o's confidence. His statement shows that he possesses the competitive fire necessary to excel at the next level.
Now all he has to do is back it up with a strong showing at his pro day on March 26 in South Bend.
Speed isn't everything in the NFL, but in Te'o's case, he must prove he has it, or he will suffer a permanent drop in his draft stock leading up to April.
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