Te'o disappointed many evaluators after he clocked a slow 4.82 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, but the fact remains that throughout the college football season he played like a first-round pick.
Depending on whether or not you believe his side of the story about his fake girlfriend, the fact remains that Te'o may have been playing distracted during his worst performance of the season against Alabama.
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
Interesting note from @SI_PeterKing: Manti Te'o won't get past Cincinnati at No. 21 overall. #Bengals2013-3-4 14:15:24
If scouts are content to throw out the performance against Alabama and accept that Te'o isn't a sideline-to-sideline player, he becomes a rather interesting prospect.
Concerns about Te'o's size exist, but he'd be well-protected behind a four-man defensive line featuring stars like Geno Atkins. He'd be a better fit as the "Mike" in a 4-3 front than as an inside linebacker in a 3-4.
The Bengals had a lot of success taking a chance on Vontaze Burfict last year after the linebacker ran a bad 40-yard dash time. Burfict also had much worse off-the-field concerns than Te'o, as teams haven't questioned Te'o's maturity and drive like they questioned Burfict's last year.
Head coach Marvin Lewis could pair Te'o and Burfict to make for an interesting linebacker rotation next season, or the coach could start both, giving Te'o the opportunity to live up to his first-round billing from the beginning of his career.
Look for Te'o to be a much talked about draft prospect as "Lying Season" goes on. The linebacker could go as high as No. 17 to the Steelers.
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