Early mock drafts have projected Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o to land with the New York Giants at Pick 19.
One of Big Blue’s most pressing needs on defense is an athletic middle linebacker, and should the team try to fill that void via the draft, Te’o was among the best candidates to do so.
Given what transpired yesterday, there is no doubt that NFL general managers and coaches might be hesitant to make Te’o their first-round pick.
In case you missed, Te’o’s heroics were documents all season long. Within a week’s time, Teo lost both his grandmother and his girlfriend, who he met and maintained an online relationship with.
Deadspin reported Wednesday Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed, citing no SSA records, no college enrollment at Stanford and no birth records. Only a few Twitter and Instagram accounts showed she was alive.
Chaos ensued as the report spilled into the public, leaving the question of whether Te’o was hoaxed by a couple of attention-starved pranksters from Stanford — or did he lie to his friends and family, team and the entire nation?
Remind you, this was Te’o, the star of the Fighting Irish, an underdog story through and through this past college football season and its leader who captivated the public with his display of faith and perseverance.
Fast forward to now. Te’o is preparing for the NFL Draft in April. The latest ESPN mock draft projects Te’o to land to the Buffalo Bills at No. 9, though that was released prior to this news breaking.
If you’re the Giants or any other NFL team for this matter, would you take a shot on this kid — and at what point do you have to overlook this controversy and focus on what he can add for your football?
It doesn’t seem likely that a disciplinarian like Tom Coughlin would be eager to add Te’o to his roster. Coughlin aims to bring in character guys, and really, the only questionable players on the roster over the year — Tiki Barber, Plaxico Burress, who may have shown up a few minutes later to a meeting — or his outspoken players — Antrel Rolle — all of whom pail in comparison to the severity of what Te’o might be adding to a team.
If you were to ask me, Coughlin now wants nothing to do with Te’o. Despite what he may or may not bring to his football team in terms of an athletic middle backer, I doubt he believes it is worth it with all of the baggage and publicity he’ll drag along with him.
Giants fans, what do you think?
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