Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Could Manti Te'o still fit in AFC East?
By James Walker
There was a time when former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was considered a possibility for the Buffalo Bills at the top of the draft. But those chances dwindled after the linebacker had some off-the-field controversy, played poorly in the Discover BCS National Championship and ran a slow 40 time at the NFL combine.
Te'o is back in the spotlight Tuesday during Notre Dame's pro day, where he attempted to improve his stock. Te’o reportedly ran an unofficial time of 4.71 in the 40-yard dash, which is a little faster than the 4.82 he ran in February.
Is Te'o still a fit for the AFC East? Let's examine.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills were once a favorite. They still have a need for a physical leader at middle linebacker. Buffalo will use more 3-4 looks next season under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. But the Bills hold the No. 8 overall pick, and picking Te'o that high is risky. There are better prospects with more athleticism and less questions for Buffalo in the first round.
New York Jets: The Jets hold the No. 9 overall pick. But like Buffalo, that is too high for Te'o. The Jets released veteran middle linebacker Bart Scott this offseason. But New York is high on 2012 draft pick DeMario Davis and believes he can fit in well next to David Harris. The Jets will go in another direction.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins just upgraded their linebacker position in free agency with Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. Miami has the No. 12 overall pick, but will not look at the linebacker position.
New England Patriots: The Patriots are in an interesting spot at No. 29. If Te'o drops to the end of the first round, there will be several teams interested. However, the Patriots probably aren’t one of them. New England has plenty of depth at linebacker. Jerod Mayo is coming off a Pro Bowl season and the Patriots spent a first-round pick on Dont’a Hightower in 2012. Perhaps the Patriots could use their pick as trade bait if another team wants to take a chance on Te’o at the bottom of the first round.