It is rare that a middle linebacker is the lead story of the NFL Combine. Manti Te’o is set to change that over the next several days.
After a strong career at Notre Dame, Te’o was seen as a known quantity who, despite lacking ideal measurable, was a near certain high first round NFL Draft pick.
Then came Alabama.
Then came the revelation of a fake girlfriend.
Following a performance in which the Heisman runner up was mauled by superior competition and an off the field revelation that showed that the Notre Dame linebacker had fallen for a made up girl who turned out to be another guy, Te’o’s draft stock is anything but a known quantity.
A lot has been made of the fake girlfriend, and, as I have argued before, it will affect his draft stock. Te’o will get his first chance to dismiss concerns among NFL teams in interviews in Indianapolis.
Equally important for Te’o will be the workouts. He is undersized and was overwhelmed by the stronger front of the Tide. He will need to prove he has the strength to compete in the NFL. His forty yard dash will also need to be impressive in order to reverse his slide.
Even if he excels in Indianapolis, I still believe Te’o will have a hard time cracking back into the first round. However, the best news for Te’o came earlier this week when Alec Ogletree, considered the best middle linebacker in the draft, was arrested for a DUI.
Ogletree’s arrest and previous off the field troubles could force teams like the Steelers and Ravens who may be looking for a middle linebacker to make a decision between the troubled Georgia Bulldog or a player who was dominated against the only high level competition and was the “victim” of a hoax that now has him carrying a tremendous amount of baggage.
LSU’s Kevin Minter is also in the conversation as a potential first round middle linebacker.
Stay tuned to Breitbart Sports for coverage of the NFL Draft Combine.