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Should New York Giants Select Manti Te’o If He’s Available to Them in 2013 NFL Draft?

January 19th, 2013 at 6:30 AM
By Casey Sherman

'840' photo (c) 2010, Neon Tommy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese faces the task of finding someone to play middle linebacker this offseason, and could look to the NFL Draft to do so. The top linebacker in this year's class is Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o, who helped lead a fierce Notre Dame defense to a National Championship game appearance.

Most experts believed he would be a top-10 pick, but that was before Te'o's personal life became a hot topic of controversy. With the question marks surrounding his character, there is a greater chance of teams passing on Te'o, which could allow him to slip to the Giants with the 19th pick. If that turns out to be the case, should the Giants select him? Would you want him on your team?

Manti Te'o is the centerpiece for what has become one of the most outlandish sports-related stories in recent history. Te'o had received the sympathy of college football fans everywhere after the passing of his grandmother became public during the season, only to be followed by news that his girlfriend had died just six hours later after a battle with leukemia. Now reports are surfacing that Te'o's girlfriend, which he met online, never existed to begin with.

Some are blaming Te'o, claiming he devised the whole story for publicity and perhaps votes for a Heisman campaign. Others believe he is an innocent victim of an elaborate joke staged by an internet prankster. No one knows for certain what the truth is, but one thing is for sure, there are some major question marks surrounding the character of Manti Te'o whether he deserves it or not.

T'eo possesses the ability and skill set the Giants could use to help solve their linebacker issues. Before the breaking news, many experts projected the Giants would select him with the 19th overall pick in their mock drafts, but the chances of him sliding past 18 other teams seemed unlikely. Now the odds are pretty good that he will be there. CBS Sports' Dan Brugler is one of many who are confident Te'o will make an excellent pro.

"Te’o is an intense competitor and covers a lot of ground with his rangy, active playing style and lateral agility to cover both sidelines. He trusts his eyes and attacks the action quickly, showing a high football IQ to play smart, assignment football. Te'o needs to tighten his angles in space and get stronger at the point of attack to consistently finish once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier. He is a smooth, thickly-built athlete and his ability to quickly diagnose the play is why he projects as a starter at the next level."

Despite whatever character issues may surround Te'o, there is no denying his ability and leadership on the field. After a disappointing season for the Giants' linebackers, there is no question the team could utilize a young player of his caliber. The Giants starting middle linebacker last season, Chase Blackburn, is a free agent and may not return to the team next season. Second-string linebacker, Mark Herlzich, proved he needed more game-experience before taking on a larger role. Keith Rivers can't seem to stay healthy, while Michael Boley saw his playing time diminish.

Scouts believe Te'o's skill-set is best suited for a cover two style defense, which typically calls for a middle linebacker with strong pass defending ability. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is known for utilizing the "Tampa 2" variation of the cover two defense, making Te'o an even likelier fit for big blue.

So the question that begs to be answered…Does the potential of Te'o out-weigh the risk? Jerry Reese has a history of waiting till the middle of the draft to pick linebackers. Might this year be an exception? As more news surrounding this obscure story becomes public, it will be easier for NFL general managers, including Jerry Reese, to determine whether or not it is worth it to make Te'o their selection.

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Tags: Chase Blackburn, Football, Jerry Reese, Keith Rivers, Manti Te'o, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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8 Responses to “Should New York Giants Select Manti Te’o If He’s Available to Them in 2013 NFL Draft?”

  1.  kujo says:

    I have him as the 3rd best real linebacker in the draft, behind the Georgia boys Jervis Jones (OLB) and Alec Ogletree (MLB). We won’t get near Jones, but could absolutely have a shot at Ogletree, who looks like a newer breed NFL linebacker at 6’3 230 lbs. Te’o, on the other hand, is 6’2 and 255 lbs, which surprising given his speed and range.

    I’m not a scout and I will be interested to see how the measurables play out at the Combine. But Te’o is gonna be a good player, provided he can put this whole episode behind him. People forget that these are 20 and 21 year old kids we’re dealing with. They’re supposed to do stupid stuff–when I was 20, I was hospitalized after chugging an entire bottle of Southern Comfort while wearing a straw hat and a kilt. What Te’o “did” is be naive and too trustworthy. No one was hurt, no one was in any danger of being hurt. I think people who are making fun of him, or suggesting that he’s somehow or another mentally unbalanced just don’t understand this generation of teenagers and early 20s. I’m not far removed from it, but I know lots of people who engage in this sort of behavior. Relationships–romantic are otherwise–that exist on the net are a new phenomena that psychologists and sociologists haven’t even begun to understand. I’ll tell you this, though–there are some people on G101 that I talk to every day, either on here or on Facebook or Twitter, or even over text. I met up with Simon last fall when I went up to NYC, and I know other G101 members have done the same. If something bad were to happen to these people, whom I consider REAL friends, I would be really sad, despite never having met the vast majority of you.

    Te’o shouldn’t have been so trusting, but last month, or last fall, if someone had asked the question posed in this article, most would have been very open to the idea of adding a big time inside linebacker who was a Heisman runner up. Is he a sure fire Pro Bowler? Not any more or less than any other 1st round pick. He’s a very good prospect, and we’d be silly not to consider him if he were available.

  2.  G-MenFan says:

    Eric Fisher, Barrett Jones, Margus Hunt, or Sam Montgomery in Round 1.

    The girlfriend whisperer will still be there in round 2.

  3.  Dirt says:

    4 things I think:

    1. I was originally bent out of shape by Snee going to the Pro Bowl. Now after thinking about it, good for him. It’s a trip to Hawaii with his family that gets to deal with a dad who’s unfocused on family all year. And it’s probably his last trip.

    2. High turnover teams almost never win championships. Because eventually an elite offense comes through (see: 2011 Giants vs. 49ers) and doesn’t cough the ball up. The top turnover defenses this year are sitting home.

    3. Our defensive philosophy should be cheap, hungry, athletic guys. The expensive, content, non-athletic guys aren’t cutting it. There’s essentially no reason not to make significant cuts on defense and backfill with talented rookies or second tier FAs. Example: Cut Boley, sign Rivers. The results can’t be any worse.

    4. Awesome news jfunk, congrats! I’m right behind you.

    •  Dirt says:

      5. I want no part of Te’o. Strictly as an athlete.

      2a. High turnover defense is a gimmick like the read option. You’re sitting back getting picks because you’re mot man enough to stop anyone. Stupid. Go get some real life NFL hitters. I loved watching Seattle play D. All no namers too.

  4.  LUZZ says:

    I really don’t think Te’o is first round talent at all. Bottom line is he is slow and lacks elite athletic ability, which is why they never had him rush the QB at ND.

    Fish in the SEC Mr. Reese. As if I really have to tell him this…

    Like I said 10 days ago, the best thing Te’o has/had going for him was his personal story and that gold helmet.

    We need to get faster and more athletic at LB and you don’t accomplish this by drafting ND players in the first round.

  5.  GmenMania says:

    UUT

  6.  giantsou812 says:

    Giants area of need is an NFL ready corner with the first pick
    2nd OT Rick Wagner
    3rd DE/OLB Kiwi type of player.

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