2013 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Manti Te'o, linebacker, Notre Dame

Justin K. Aller

Manti Te'o is a player who had been considered a possibility for the Giants with the 19th pick in the April NFL Draft. Is that still the case.

Well, this 2013 NFl Draft prospect profile certainly has changed from his original version I had planned. Manti Te'o was at one point mocked (or stated) as a top three pick by Mel Kiper Jr. He was routinely mocked to the Buffalo Bills at #8 and considered in the media (not me) as a consensus top 10 pick. But then the strangest story of the young year occurred: where Te'o was involved in a hoax involving a fake girlfriend and her untimely death. Only the draft will tell how this truly affects Teo's stock.

[Complete SB Nation Draft Coverage]

Pros

Extremely productive instinctive linebacker who has very good NFL size for a middle linebacker, not a guy who will have to develop his body to play the game. He should be ready to start from the jump. Te'o, except for the National Championship game against Alabama, has been a good tackler and run defender. He's been very good at shedding blockers. He's a good blitzer. Te'o had been a leader for the Notre Dame defense throughout his time in South Bend.

[Big Blue View 2013 NFL Draft Big Board]

Cons

At one point the biggest asset for Te'o was he was considered the best leader in all of college football, but the girlfriend hoax really brings into question his maturity and ability to lead men at this point in time. He'll have to prove that he was not complicit. He also had an absolutely brutal BCS National Championship game, where he got dominated by Alabama's NFL caliber linemen. There have always existed questions about Te'o's ability to play sideline to sideline, and his speed to cover the deep part of the field in Cover 2 alignments.

Been compared to: Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (NFL.com)

My comparison: Jerod Mayo, Patriots

I think Lewis is part of the myth that has followed Te'o throughout the whole season. But Mayo has been an excellent player for the Patriots who has played a variety of roles. Mayo was a little smaller than Te'o is listed at right now, and probably a touch faster, but I think they are similar players.

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Does He Fit With The Giants?

The Giants really need a long-term solution at middle linebacker, and on the field Te'o might be the best in the class (I like Alec Ogletree more), but if his character checks out he does fit with the Giants, who might not even have to use a first-round pick on him anymore.

Prospect Video

This video is actually not from @jmpasq, but his partner at draftbreakdown.com, Aaron Aloysius.

Big Board Rankings (as of Jan. 18th)
Mocking The Draft: 4th

National Football Post: 14th

CBS Draft: 10th

My Board: 18th

Final thoughts

Despite my above diatribe on the odd scenario Te'o finds himself in I'm not close enough to the situation and I don't have access to Te'o so I'm not going to knock him down on my own board. He'll remain at 18. I just know that many teams look for reasons to NOT draft a player as opposed to reasons for drafting a player, and Te'o just provided every team with a reason not to draft him. He's had a very bad month, but he's a good player. He is big and has good athleticism for his size. He could really help the Giants run defense and is solid value in the middle of the first round if the Giants decide to go that route. If teams are scared off enough by Te'o because of this scenario and the Giants ended up with him in the second round that would be great. I don't think the Giants will draft him in the first, but he could be an option.

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