Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk transcribes words by Jets executive Terry Bradway on the team's website that are harsh words on Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
“It’s an unusual situation, that’s for sure. I feel bad for him. I mean, the stress of the situation has to have had an impact on his training somehow. I think he’s going to run faster than that at his pro day at the end of March,” Bradway said.
“He’s a good football player,” he added. “I know a lot of us gave him pretty good grades, but when you look at the Alabama game and you look at what’s happened since, it just scares you a little bit. I know their whole defense struggled against Alabama – a lot of missed tackles – they’re a good football team but I think its caused everybody to go back and re-watch and see exactly what we have here. It’s going to be interesting to see where he’s drafted.”
I also see a few red flags about Te'o, and the really have nothing to do with the girlfriend situation. As productive as he was at Notre Dame, he just did not look very athletic or fluid on the field. The Combine kind of confirms that. It wasn't just the bad 40 yard dash. He wasn't in the top five for linebackers in any drill.The way he struggled against Alabama, the closest thing to an NFL team in college. also raises eyebrows about his athletic ability. Te'o is looking more and more like a two down linebacker. He has also admitted to being overwhelmed in those last two pressure events. It's not like the glare would be any less for him playing in New York.
Te'o also has a lot going for him. He's one of the most instinctual players in the Draft. His intellect on the field can help compensate to a degree for his lack of athleticism. Pre 2011 David Harris showed that a slowish linebacker adept only at playing the run can find success when asked to cover a small area in a 3-4 defense.
Any chance of Te'o being the guy at 9 died on the field in Miami against Alabama. If he falls into the second round, it will present an interesting choice. As always, the decision will revolve around how the rest of the Draft goes and who else is available.