Manti Te’o didn’t hear his name called in the first round of the NFL draft, and the common belief might be that a scandal over his fake girlfriend caused the Notre Dame linebacker to slip down the board.
That’s very likely not the case. Sure, it looked bad that Te’o was fooled by an acquaintance who made up a fake girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, and that Te’o kept talking about her even after he found out it was fake. And the linebacker didn’t exactly come across well in interviews after the fact, either.
But the truth is that Te’o was a low first-round pick at best, so it’s not that unusual that he didn’t get picked on Day 1.
Manti Te’o wisely remained home in Hawaii rather than going to Radio City Music Hall, where the 2013 NFL draft is being held. He doesn’t need the added spotlight of waiting to be picked, and his new team would rather Te’o talk about 4-3 defenses than have to re-hash old questions about his fake girlfriend.
Unless he falls below the second round, Manti Te’o wouldn’t be out of place in his draft position. Though he had an amazing regular season, leading linebackers with seven interceptions and serving as the key point to one of the best defenses in all of college football, the wheels fell off in the National Championship Game against Alabama.
Facing a roster full of NFL talent, Manti Te’o was woefully of place in the championship, run over by Alabama’s strong running backs.
Te’o didn’t do anything at the combine to bring the draft stock back up. He ran a slow40-yard-dash time of 4.8 seconds, though he was able to improve it to 4.71 seconds at Notre Dame’s Pro Day.
The second round of the NFL draft resumes on Friday night, and if Manti Te’o hears his name called early, as he likely should, he can have a chance to put the talk of poor bowl performances and fake girlfriends behind him.