Does Manti Te'o's 40 time solidify him as a first-rounder?
This time, there was no camera trained on Ravens coach John Harbaugh to gauge his reaction, but a month after Manti Te'o needed 4.82 seconds to traverse 40 yards at the NFL combine, the former Notre Dame linebacker bettered his time at his pro day on Tuesday. Does it make him a first-round draft pick?
This time, there was no camera trained on Ravens coach John Harbaugh to gauge his reaction, but a month after Manti Te'o needed 4.82 seconds to traverse 40 yards at the NFL combine, the former Notre Dame linebacker bettered his time at his pro day on Tuesday.
According to various reports, Te'o ran in the 4.71-4.75 range, which apparently is perfectly palatable for a middle linebacker still expected to go somewhere in the first round. (A tenth of a second more, however, causes your face to do this.)
NFL Network's Mike Mayock, generally considered one of the best draft experts not currently employed by an NFL team, felt Te'o was a first-rounder even before Tuesday's workout.
"I believe it," Mayock said during an appearance on NFL AM prior to Te'o's pro day. "Here's what I think is going to happen. I think the interest in (Te'o) will start approximately at 19 with the Giants, 20 with Chicago. The real soft spot is Minnesota -- they have two first-round picks, 23 and 25. They lost their inside linebacker Jasper Brinkley to free agency and their general manager, Rick Spielman, who's here by the way, has a history of drafting Notre Dame players that have played really well. So 23, 25 to me is a logical place, 28 to Denver perhaps, or even Baltimore at 32 because we know they have a big hole in the middle of that defense."
Ah, yes, Minnesota. CBSSports.com's Will Brinson has been beating this drum in his most recent mock draft, noting that the Vikings already have five former Notre Dame players currently on the roster.
ESPN's Adam Schefter echoed similar sentiments on Tuesday's SportsCenter.
"Most people around the league don't believe he will get out of the first round of the draft." he said. "And I think you start about midway through the first round with teams that have needs at the inside linebacker position."
Then there's this, which stretches the limits of credulity, even for the most ardent Te'o fan:
(Back on Earth ... )
Earlier this month, Giants general manager Jerry Reese said Te'o's 4.82 40 at the combine had been "blown out of proportion."
"We have to depend mostly on our evaluation on what he did on the field," Reese said at the time. "We talk to them about off-field issues, take psychological inventories and find out as much as we can. But at some point, you can talk yourself out of some good football players with too much information."
So according to Reese, a) Te'o's 40 time really doesn't mean much, and b) it certainly won't catapult a player up 15 spots on a draft board because game tape is what really matters.
Either way, it looks like Te'o could be one of the first 32 players selected. Now the question becomes: Will he be invited to attend the draft in person? (Update: it appears Te'o will be at home on draft day. Too bad.)
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