Of all the moves in the NFL draft not involving a quarterback, the most questionable may be the San Diego Chargers’ second round selection of Manti Te’O. Te’O comes with the off the field baggage of the infamous girlfriend hoax, but that maybe the least of his problems.
His new Chargers teammate, linebacker Donald Butler told Utsandiego.com he is not sure Te’O is a guaranteed starter. “He has to come in and prove himself as a starter,” he said. “Obviously, it would be nice — that’s why you draft someone in the second round. We don’t know how he’s going to be in the NFL. I hope he comes in and he’s a superstar. Hopefully we can create something that will carry us for the next four, five, six years.”
The last time Te’O was seen on the field, some would say he was exposed. In the BCS National Title Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Te’O seemed out-matched. To be fair, the whole Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense had a bad night, but when you are the star of said defense, all eyes are going to be on you. Te’O found this to be the harsh reality after that game.
Things would only get worse in February when Te’O ran a subpar 4.8 40 yard dash. His time seemed to confirm he would not be a three-down linebacker at the NFL level. He did bring his time down slightly at his pro day to 4.72. However, the damage had been done, and Te’o who was once considered a top 10 pick by many scouts, slid to the second round of the draft. He was the sixth pick in the second round, and No. 38 overall.
Those quotes sound like Butler has questions about Te’O’s talent level. Butler, who is a budding star in his own right, knows all about proving himself. He was a third-round pick out of the University of Washington in 2010, going No. 79 overall.
There is no way for Te’O to answer questions about his ability in the offseason, but all eyes will be on him the first day camp opens.