2013 NFL Draft: Where Manti Te'o Fits and Where He Does Not
Manti Te'o is far from being the best player in the upcoming NFL Draft, but he is certainly one of the most discussed. A Notre Dame poster boy with a fake girlfriend who got run over by Alabama in the national title game before slogging during the 40-yard-dash at the NFL Scouting Combine is going to strike up some conversation. Fortunately for Te'o, come September, the only thing anyone will be talking about is how he’s performing on the field.
Te'o is going to be drafted, and likely in the first round—though he’s probably making the right decision to not attend the draft. The potential for a Brady Quinn-like situation is simply too high. Surely he wants to net as big of a financial windfall as possible, but what he should be more concerned with is landing with the right organization. Here’s a list of every NFL team and if Te'o would fit with that franchise.
Baltimore Ravens: No; settling into, and becoming the face of a linebacking corps that is without a Hall of Famer and Dannell Ellerbe would be too much for rookie whose mental toughness, and frankly capacity is in question.
Cleveland Browns: Yes; Te'o could benefit from the relative anonymity of playing for a last-place team that is likely to get only one nationally televised game.
Cincinnati Bengals: Yes; a veteran defense on what is becoming—hard as it is to believe—a perennial playoff contender.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Yes; who wouldn’t benefit from playing with Dick LeBeau?
Which Round Will Te`o Get Drafted
Buffalo Bills: No; Te'o would instantly become the face of the star-starved franchise.
Miami Dolphins: Yes; the Dolphins ranked 27th in interceptions last season and could benefit from Te'o’s knack for picks.
New England Patriots: No; Te`o would likely prove too much of a circus for the "Hoodie" and the "Golden Boy."
New York Jets: No; but please, please let this happen. Just imagine the carnage of Te`o joining Rex Ryan and the Jets. ESPN might explode.
Houston Texans: Yes; by joining a solid and already established defense, the brittle Te'o wouldn’t have to a focal point.
Indianapolis Colts: Yes; the Colts coaching staff did a wonderful job in grooming Andrew Luck and would likely do the same with Te'o. Playing on a good team in a terrible division would also help.
Jacksonville: Yes; new head coach Gus Bradley would be the perfect mentor for Te'o.
Tennessee Titans: Yes; the lack of national media attention would be a benefit.
Denver Broncos: No; the spotlight is way too bright in Denver and the expectations are way too high.
Kansas City Chiefs: Yes; the Chiefs had only seven interceptions all season—dead last in the league.
Oakland Raiders: No' Te'o would be eaten alive in Oakland, plus the team is going nowhere—with or without their new acquisition, Matt Flynn (USA Today).
San Diego Chargers: Yes; new head coach Mike McCoy has been a part of winning teams for a decade and will seemingly bring stability to beleaguered San Diego.
Dallas Cowboys: No; aside from the Jets, this is the worse fit. Although, the Cowboys could benefit from Te’o’s propensity for picks as they finished tied with Kansas City at the bottom of this category.
New York Giants: Yes; even though Te'o would have to engage with the Big Apple media, he’d likely flourish with New York’s smarter franchise.
Philadelphia Eagles: No; a new, offensively minded head coach and the league’s most brutal fan base would not bode well for Te'o.
Washington Redskins: Yes; Te'o would be overshadowed by Robert Griffin III and get to play with one of the league’s defensive statesmen, London Fletcher.
Chicago Bears: Yes; no city has a bigger Notre Dame fan base than Chicago.
Detroit Lions: No; the Lions are a circus.
Green Bay Packers: Yes; the Packers need all the defensive help they can get, especially in pass coverage.
Minnesota: Yes; Leslie Frazier is a defensive mastermind and most importantly, was a "G Crew" in the Super Bowl Shuffle.
Atlanta Falcons: No; Atlanta needs someone who shows up for the biggest games.
Carolina Panthers: Yes; the NFC South is a pass-first division.
New Orleans Saints: Yes; the league’s worst defense in terms of yards per game needs whatever help it can get.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Yes; the Buccaneers were the league’s worst defense against the pass, so much improvement is needed on that side of the ball.
Arizona Cardinals: Yes; not much is expected from Arizona, so expectations will be low.
San Francisco 49ers: No; the 49ers have no need for him.
Seattle Seahawks: No; like their division rival, the Seahawks don’t need Te'o.
St Louis Rams: Yes; Jeff Fisher is a defense-first coach.
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