Posted March 26, 2013

Manti Te’o’s Pro Day performance changes little for 2013 NFL Draft

NFL Draft
Manti Te'o Notre Dame Pro Day

Manti Te’o remains a potential first-round draft pick, despite a tumultuous last few months. (Michael Conroy/AP)

During Notre Dame’s Pro Day on Tuesday, Manti Te’o reportedly dropped as much as a tenth of a second off his lumbering 4.82 40 time from February’s scouting combine.

Big deal.

Sure, that’s a nice accomplishment for Te’o after he took heat for his subpar combine showing. The reality, though, is that any team relying on Te’o’s Pro Day showing to make up its mind about the controversial linebacker has missed the boat already.

That puts Te’o in a different class than, say, Matt Barkley, whose draft potential may hinge on his showing at USC’s Wednesday Pro Day; or any number of cornerbacks and wide receivers, who must prove their speed to be NFL-worthy.

Te’o is not the same type of prospect.

At this point, there is very little mystery when it comes to his game. He is not the greatest athlete you’ll ever see, nor is he capable of shifting positions — like so many other linebackers in this draft class — and playing outside in a 3-4 or 4-3. Te’o’s on-field performance always has surpassed what one might expect from a player with his physical traits.

Such truths probably will not change in the NFL, whether Te’o is a 4.8 or 4.7 40 linebacker.

The real test for Te’o during this pre-draft process, ever since the details of his “relationship” with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo came to light, was how he would perform in one-on-one interviews with teams. While a Pro Day allows Te’o to show he’s gained a little speed or strength here and there, his showings in those interviews — be it talking about his “catfishing” scandal or breaking down Xs and Os — is what will make or break his draft stock.

If you take all of the external factors off the table, Te’o presents as a decent but not elite prospect. He averaged 124.7 tackles over his final three seasons at Notre Dame and picked off seven passes in 2012, while earning a spot as a Heisman finalist.

All of that production certainly makes him a draftable prospect, possibly even a first-rounder for a linebacker-needy team. But does one decent 40 at his Pro Day offset shaky outings against the likes of Alabama and Pittsburgh?

Hardly. When it comes right down to it, teams base the majority of their draft decisions on game tapes and those face-to-face meetings. The combine and Pro Days are just tiny pieces of the puzzle.

So, while Te’o’s Pro Day numbers may provide him a little public momentum, there is little he could have done Tuesday to alter drastically the direction of teams’ private discussions.

27 comments
craig.w.bryant
craig.w.bryant

For some reason the shills at ESPN have this guy going in the 1st round. Proof that a sensationalized media campaign really can overcome substantive faults! If not for story about his g/f (which now all know to be a complete fabrication), this guy would be nothing and this article would never have been written.

craig.w.bryant
craig.w.bryant

For some reason the shills over at ESPN still have this guy going in the 1st round. Proof that a sensationalized media campaign really can overcome statistical evidence!

amolad
amolad

The big thing is not his fake girlfriend or his forty times, but how he did against Alabama, the closest thing to an NFL team in NCAA.

He got manhandled and blown out.

How he did against Navy or Wake Forest--who cares? Low second round pick at best. 

mashley278
mashley278

If he didn't play for ND and didn't make up his girlfriend story...there wouldn't even be an article about him. CJ Moseley at Alabama played part time and had similar numbers. Jarvis Jones had better numbers. He is a media creation, plain and simple.

Virginian12
Virginian12

This article is totally content free. Is there anything at all in the article that anyone who follows football does not know

already?

Watchwolf
Watchwolf

Manti Te’o is the next Tedi Bruschi. Plain and simple.

Jon8
Jon8

Low second rounder and will not be a success ultimately!

SteveClodfelter
SteveClodfelter

Can he make plays? That's all I want to know as a coach. How many guys through the decades have had world class speed in the NFL? Not Walter Payton or Barry Sanders. Quickness, the ability to read the play, and a good pair of hands, that's what makes great players.

MikeHiggins
MikeHiggins

Wow. Everyone is taking this process WAY too seriously. Football season is months away. 

LeslieHoerwinkle
LeslieHoerwinkle

You either like Te'o or you don't. Same applies to NFL teams. Someone will take him by the 2nd round, IMO.

JRock
JRock

20 yard shuttle is a more relevant stat then the 40 yd dash for an ILB. Te'o ran a 4.24 which is one of the faster times at the combine for ILB. I wouldn't look for him to run down CJ2K anytime soon, but he could play sideline to sideline pretty well.

LeilaniHernandez
LeilaniHernandez

he will be a bust. everybody is just waiting for it. we all know what will happen.

drmuon
drmuon

He sure did look slow against Alabama.   Also not all that smart common sense wise.  4th round pick!

JUSTINL
JUSTINL

4th round talent. Anyone who spends an earlier pick than that on him is crazy. The guy clearly cannot focus and move past the whole scandal so who's to say he will be able to handle the NFL media on a day to day basis plus the hazing he will be subject to as a rookie and beyond? Just don't think he has it in him (no pun intended).

TuckerThaTruckr
TuckerThaTruckr

I'm reminded of another defensive prospect who dropped to 24th in his draft class due to lack of speed. Guy by the name of Ed Reed, the best safety of this century. Anxious to see who takes a chance on Teo.

MarkHanson
MarkHanson

This is why I enjoy reading different viewpoints. Other supposed gurus, namely Mel Kiper disagrees. Says improving his time by .1 seconds improves his draft position by maybe 15 spots. If I am a scouting director and want to know how fast a player is, I take that player outdoors in pads & helmet and have him chase an RB or WR while dodging blockers. Oh, that has happened, and it is on game tape. That does not lie. enough with the pro days, what a waste of time & money

Samantha2
Samantha2

You mean an undersized crybaby who won zero championships after he had to stop cheating? Yeah, I can see that.

Samantha2
Samantha2

Of course he can't make the plays. He did fine against the likes of Navy, but he looked lost on the field with Alabama.

JoshMcKay
JoshMcKay

@MikeHiggins But the draft is in April . . .

rskins09
rskins09

 @TuckerThaTruckr     Said the same thing  --being slow - about Larry Bird , NBA...Al Davis would draft any track star who could run a  4.4   but couldn't catch a cold  ...

rskins09
rskins09

 @MarkHanson     Late George Allen , former NFL coach, never agreed with the 40 yard thing.

                                   Said it was outdated; he said there should be a 20 yard  time instead of a 40...

JoshMcKay
JoshMcKay

@TravisSonnentag @LeilaniHernandez @TuckerThaTruckr Don't be an idiot Travis.

rskins09
rskins09

 @rick259g  @rskins09  @MarkHanson ... George Allen  was persona-non-grata the last few years in the NFL , but light years ahead of his competition earlier  - Rams & Redskins ..Was 1st head coach to hire a special teams coach-, , defense the Shotgun  with Bears ..On and on..