2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

by Cory J. Bonini on March 7, 2013 @ 18:05:24 PDT

 


Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o enters the 2013 NFL Draft as one of the most controversial prospects in recent memory.

Te'o's senior season was bright from the start but ended on a sour note against Alabama in the National Championship game. Te'o piled up virtually every notable defensive award for his 2012 efforts, a season that resulted in 113 tackles and seven interceptions.

Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
So many questions

Strengths

  • Versatile defender - adept in coverage and taking advantage of quarterback miscues
  • Downhill player - identifies and hustles to the ball
  • Plays with leverage
  • A better football player than an athlete - a lot of good tape on Te'o that often gets overlooked by poor workout numbers
  • Instinctual
  • Dedicated, hard worker
  • Every-down linebacker in the NFL
  • Reliable, wrap-up form tackler
  • Should be system-versatile at the next level

Weaknesses

  • Lacks athleticism and could struggle in zone defense or against faster running backs in pass coverage
  • Was obviously outmatched versus Alabama at the end of the 2012 season - looked like superior athletes outclassed him
  • Sometimes overly aggressive against play fakes
  • Lacks size (6-foot-1, 241 pounds)
  • Off-the-field hoax issue raises questions
  • Seems to be easily mentally defeated
  • Tremendous bust potential with little upside
  • Questionable vision

Expected draft placement

Once widely considered a surefire first-rounder, Te'o may struggle to crack the top 32 picks. He is a true second-round grade, but it is entirely possible that he falls out of the second stanza, too. Realistically, expect the Baltimore Ravens (No. 32) as the earliest he will go.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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