Eric Hansen @EHansenNDI
Manti Te'o official time from #NotreDame's Pro Day: 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash.3/26/2013, 7:57:10 PM
As great as this is for Te'o to display improvement, it won't have an extensive impact on his draft status. He's still a late Round 1/early Round 2 selection as we enter April next week.
Does one decent 40 at his Pro Day offset shaky outings against the likes of Alabama and Pittsburgh?
Hardly. When it comes right down to it, teams base the majority of their draft decisions on game tapes and those face-to-face meetings. The combine and Pro Days are just tiny pieces of the puzzle.
So, while Te’o's Pro Day numbers may provide him a little public momentum, there is little he could have done Tuesday to alter drastically the direction of teams’ private discussions.
On the bright side, Notre Dame's entire defense (not just Te'o) did not perform at a high level versus Pittsburgh or Alabama. Plus, bad games will occur throughout the course of a season; it's only a matter of when.
As for the BCS national title game, Te'o and the Irish were simply outmatched by an NFL-caliber offensive line. The Crimson Tide could potentially see three players go in Round 1, which is a testament to their overall talent.
Te'o's consistent playmaking ability, however, keeps him among the top prospects at his position. Just check his 2012 campaign alone, which displayed 113 tackles and 11 defended passes (seven picks), and he's clearly all over the field.
This occurs from short-area quickness that gets excessively overlooked because of his 40 time. At the combine, Te'o clocked 4.27 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and 7.13 on the three-cone drill.
Those were among the quickest results for all linebackers, so his athleticism to produce within the box and sink into coverage is quite apparent. And it's what will keep him as a potential late Round 1 selection.
A concern to keep an eye on, though, is strength.
Eric Hansen @EHansenNDI
Manti Te'o did 21 reps on the bench press and weighed in at 243 pounds.3/26/2013, 8:02:54 PM
Instincts don't always help a linebacker prevent getting blocked. Possessing the strength to extend and shed is a simple counteraction to linemen reaching downfield and fullbacks leading.
Te'o must keep working here, because the speed alone of pro football will reduce his number of plays made. It's having that upper-body bulk to rip blocks, to provide a coordinator with the option of blitzing inside and to jam receiving targets that cross the intermediate level.
The repertoire of reliable tackling and coverage remains, but Te'o is still a slight risk for the top half of Round 1. Then again, the further he drops will significantly reduce the amount of pressure entering the NFL as well.