Thursday, February 28, 2013
Where Te'o stands after combine
By Tom Carpenter
It's likely that whatever Manti Te'o did over the weekend at the combine -- good or bad -- would have generated a lot of chatter. In the end, it was that sub-par 4.82 40-yard dash that garnered all of the talk on Twitter and elsewhere, but the fact is that the 40 is just one small part of the big picture that scouts consider leading up to the NFL draft.
Russ Lande of NationalFootballPost.com wrote Thursday that "Te’o stood out in team interviews displaying good leadership and football intelligence. Everyone we spoke to told us that they are confident after this week that he can be a solid starting linebacker in the NFL as either an MLB in a 43 defense or an ILB in a 34 scheme."
That's the same type of assessment that our Bill Polian came up with after spending the weekend in Indy:
Bill PolianTop prospects, lessons from Indy
"Let me put this to rest. Despite all of the commentary coming from those outside the league following Manti Te'o's combine performance, among those inside the game that I've spoken to, no one has soured on him significantly. ... Absent the 40 time, Te'o's tests actually solidified what most thought about him. He is instinctive, tough, a good tackler and more quick than fast. Everyone is looking forward to his 40 in South Bend on March 26, and that will be the dispositive piece in the puzzle relative to speed. The fluctuations in his draft stock I've been hearing about don't make much sense to me. The notion that a player's draft stock can change in a day, or after a single drill, is as much of a hoax as the one Te'o's been caught up in. My feeling -- one shared by many of my colleagues in the league -- is that when all is said and done, he's in the lower quarter of the first round, maybe the top of second depending on his final 40 time. If he drops down in that range, however, he'll provide great value."