The New York Giants have the 19th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. They have a lot to fix, but some major holes are at the linebacker position. So when the team is on the clock this Thursday night, who will they go with? It was reported that the Giants have been linked with controversial Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, but is it true? Are the Giants willing to take a leap of faith on the linebacker’s ability and character?
His on-field liabilities go well beyond his catfishing days and his 40-yard dash. He struggles to shed blocks from more powerful offenses—just look at his disastrous performance against Alabama in the BCS Championship game. Te’o also tends to struggle in pass coverage and also isn’t too quick. At least not as quick as teams would like to see out of a first-round linebacker.
As mentioned before, he struggles with shedding second-level blocks and also has difficulty peeling off blocks at the line. At times, Te’o also lacks force when hitting running lanes and can get bulldozed over. The linebackers tackling form is also suspect; Te’o has shown he doesn’t wrap up often and just takes dives, which will be a big problem at the next level.
But Te’o’s talent wasn’t always in question; in High School, Te’o was a one of the top High School recruits. He was also a star at Notre Dame. In 2009, he started 10 games as a true freshman, and from 2010-12 he amassed over 100 tackles. Te’o reads gaps well, and shows he’s a good player in space when he gets a head start from his pre-snap reads. He has good on-field awareness and is able to sift through a crowd to get to running backs on outside runs. But where does he fit in the Giants’ scheme and can Te’o effectively match up with the speed of the new NFL era?
The New York Giants have to wonder: what will they get if they select Manti Te’o in the draft?