Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o could wind up playing for any number of different teams depending on how the first round of the 2013 NFL draft unfolds on Thursday night, but the former Heisman Trophy candidate would be best suited in the Windy City, going No. 20 overall to the Chicago Bears.
The Bears could really use Te'o in the middle of their defense, plus, the former Fighting Irish star would be better off playing for a contender.
Both ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have Chicago drafting Te'o at No. 20 in the first round on Thursday night, and for good reason: Te'o would be a great fit alongside Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams.
He would be a strong first-round pick to begin the post-Brian Urlacher era.
Sure, Te'o's underwhelming performance against Alabama in the BCS National Championship last January was disappointing and raised some questions about how his game will translate to the next level. But this is a player who was remarkably productive as a senior in 2012, recording 113 total tackles and an even more impressive seven interceptions.
There may be questions about Te'o's speed following his 4.8 40-yard dash time at February's combine, but there's no doubting his instincts and ability to diagnose plays in a hurry.
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Chicago is a team built around the strength of its defense, and drafting Te'o not only ensures that the Bears remain a force on that side of the ball in 2013, but potentially for years to come. With veteran players like Briggs and Williams leading the way for Te'o early in his career, there's really no telling how solid or reliable he could become in his first few seasons in the league.
A sure-tackling, tough-minded player, Te'o epitomizes what the Chicago Bears stand for in the rugged NFC North division. The seemingly endless highlight reel of effort plays Te'o put on tape at Notre Dame over the years showcases a skill set similar to what Bears fans witnessed from Urlacher over the past decade.
In most other scenarios, Te'o would be called upon to carry the load and turn a team's defense around. But in this case, he'd find himself under far less pressure to be the man in the middle, instead being assigned the task of making an already-Top 10 defense that much better.
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