Updated NFL Draft Stock Watch for Manti Te'o Following Notre Dame's Pro Day
Manti Te'o participated in Notre Dame's Pro Day, and as you probably can imagine, a few people were interested.
Now that the linebacker's pre-draft workouts are complete and there's less than a month until the draft, it's time to update his stock.
Frankly, he didn't do much to help or hurt how he's viewed as a prospect by NFL general managers, head coaches and scouts.
Mentally prepare yourself for Manti Te'o 40 time overreaction no matter what he runs— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) March 26, 2013
Moments after Te'o ran his 40-yard dash, NFL on ESPN's Twitter account posted the much-anticipated time:
Manti Te'o runs unofficial 4.71 40-yard dash at Notre Dame pro day. --- "Puts him in position to be a mid-1st rd pick" says Mel Kiper Jr— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 26, 2013
It was a full tenth of a second faster than the official time he clocked in Indianapolis at the scouting combine in late February.
Still, though, the faster time didn't change much.
Te'o's stock rising because of a 40 time is ALMOST as ridiculous as it supposedly dropping because of Lennay hoax.— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) March 26, 2013
Te'o is and always was a slower linebacker whose game was predicated on being ultra-physical at the line of scrimmage.
He thrived in coverage in 2012 due to decisive decision-making which was the result of amazing instincts and an ability to quickly react to where the opposing quarterback appeared to be going with the football.
Starting at the 2:19 mark, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay break down Te'o's game with somewhat opposing views.
Both make good points, but I side more with Kiper Jr. because of his point regarding the handful of inside linebackers that didn't time particularly well in the 40-yard dash that have gone on to be impactful, three-down players.
McShay did astutely point out that Te'o is a fantastic run defender.
On tape, his sheer strength is apparent, as he is polished in terms of getting off most blocks and sifting through traffic. However, when it comes to staying fundamentally sound as a tackler, Te'o could use improvement.
Against Stanford and especially in the national title game against Alabama, Te'o got himself into great position to make plays at-or-near the line of scrimmage but lunged at the ball-carrier and missed what should have been easy tackles.
ESPN's Eric Mangini gave his take on the Notre Dame linebacker (via Evan Silva):
ESPN's Eric Mangini on Manti Te'o: "He's gonna have to be covered up to play at the highest level & utilize his greatest strengths."— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 26, 2013
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke wrote a succinct summary of Te'o as a prospect and how his Pro Day barely influenced his draft stock:
At this point, there is very little mystery when it comes to his game. He is not the greatest athlete you’ll ever see, nor is he capable of shifting positions — like so many other linebackers in this draft class — and playing outside in a 3-4 or 4-3. Te’o's on-field performance always has surpassed what one might expect from a player with his physical traits.
Following his full workout, ESPN's Adam Schefter projected where he believes Te'o will ultimately land in this year's draft (via NFLMocksCrew):
Adam Schefter says Manti Te'o is still likely a first round selection. Likeliest spots IMO are MIN, DEN, HOU, and BAL.— NFL Mocks Crew (@NFLMocks) March 26, 2013
Plenty of teams are in need of inside linebacker help, so it'll be surprising if Te'o makes it out of Round 1.
On the mock draft front, Te'o is typically being slated near the end of Round 1 or at the early stages of Round 2.
CBS Sports' Dane Brugler predicted LSU's Kevin Minter to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 32 overall instead of Te'o, but Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller gave the Green Bay Packers Te'o at No. 26 overall in his latest mock draft.
Somewhere from pick No. 25 to 40 seems about right.
Manti Te'o is a polarizing draft prospect, but in the right system he should have a long and somewhat productive NFL career at the inside linebacker spot.
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