Thursday, January 17, 2013
Should Bills say no to Manti Te'o?
By James Walker
Any Buffalo Bills fan with a pulse knows the team desperately needs linebacker help. For starters, Buffalo lacked toughness and was 31st against the run in 2012. Second, new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will mix in more 3-4 alignments next season.
Most Bills fans are also aware that for weeks -- and perhaps months -- Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o has been linked as a possibility for Buffalo in April's NFL draft. Te'o, it was thought, brings physicality, instincts, character and natural leadership. Those are all traits the Bills could use on defense.
But this week’s bizarre story about Te'o and an apparent girlfriend that never existed raises a lot more questions than answers. Was Te'o the victim or perpetrator?
Here is another important question: Should the Bills still consider Te'o with the No. 8 overall pick? That is where ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. pegged Te'o before this strange story became public. Buffalo is starting a new era under rookie head coach Doug Marrone, and drafting Te'o with the top pick in April would be an interesting first move.
Te'o was projected to be a top-15 pick before this week. But that can always change during this pre-draft process. Te'o will be perhaps the hottest commodity at next month's NFL combine. NFL scouts, executive and media will want to know the real story from Te'o behind this controversy.
The Bills will have their choice of a variety of top prospects with the No. 8 overall pick. Te'o was once considered a safe pick at the top half of the first round, but that may no longer be the case.