- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jerry Reese said he was more interested in what Manti Te'o can do on the football field than all the Internet hoax nonsense.
Now it remains to be seen if Te'o showed Reese and other general managers enough at the NFL scouting combine this week.
Te'o ran a stiff 40-yard dash, clocking in at 4.82 seconds. Listed at 6-foot-1¼, 241 pounds, Te'o recorded a 7.13 seconds in the three-cone drill, 9-foot-5 in the broad jump and a 33-inch vertical jump. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay says that while some have called Te'o undersized, the Notre Dame linebacker "hits the average height and weight numbers for a middle linebacker on the dot."
Combine this with his performance in the national championship game against Alabama and there might be some concern about Te'o's speed, ability to cover and be an every-down linebacker after the 40 time.
Let's look at this strictly from the Giants' perspective. If Te'o is there at 19 when the Giants pick -- and if his combine performance drop him to 19 or further -- will Reese take the Heisman runner-up? It's a question that has many Giants fan split on what to do.
Before Te'o met with the media to explain the "catfishing" and then ran the 40, my guess all along was that the Giants will go with a defensive lineman or offensive lineman over linebacker at 19, unless somebody unexpectedly drops into their laps.
And that has nothing to do with the Te'o girlfriend controversy. The Giants don't seem to value linebacker in the draft as much as, say, a pass rusher. The last time they drafted a linebacker in the first round was 1984 when they tabbed Carl Banks out of Michigan State. My feeling is if the Giants are going to take a linebacker in the first round, he better be an impact linebacker.
Combine numbers certainly don't make a player. Te'o might not be the fastest, biggest or most athletic linebacker. But he was considered to be perhaps the best linebacker in the country for his instincts, smarts, leadership and play-making ability, among other things.
The Giants definitely can use a young stud linebacker. But they are probably better off filling a need at pass rusher, defensive tackle, offensive line or cornerback at 19. And that might remain the case, even if Te'o runs a faster time at his pro day.
Tell us what you thought of Te'o's combine performance and if it changes your mind at all of who to pick at 19.