Going into the combine Manti had slipped down Mel Kiper’s Big Board from 2nd to 14th and now with his disappointing NFL combine performance you might see him slip to the second round. Many ‘experts’ are saying he doesn’t have the speed to be an elite linebacker and think no one should take a chance on him in the 1st round. Personally I think he will be picked in the 20’s in the 1st round and don’t forget he still has Pro Day at Notre Dame on March 26th.
Te’o ended up running an official 4.82 40 yard dash, which ranked him 20 out of 26 linebackers at the combine. The cone drill was another disappointment as he finished in 7.13 seconds and the 20 yard shuttle in 4.27 seconds. Even though his numbers weren’t great, they are just numbers. Many guys run a 4.3 and end up not doing anything in the NFL. It is all about translating it to the field. The interviews are said to have went well, but it will take Manti awhile to turn the public’s opinion of him.
Lastly, I don’t understand how people can just throw out his performance all season long and now count him out after the National Championship, hoax, and now the combine. Manti is a gamer, he plays with heart, desire, and intensity that few could match last college football season. Lead all linebackers in interceptions with 7 and was tied for second in the nation for the most interceptions for all positions. He has shown his improved ability in coverage and was always in the right place. The hoax as weird and bamboozling as it is needs to be forgotten, since it really has nothing to do with his ability on the football field. It does make people question his integrity, but he will gain the respect back in time.