We've had a night to sleep on the strangest sports story that we've heard for a long time. But will this really impact Manti Te'o's draft stock? We don't think so.
+ This thing about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is crazy. Beyond crazy. Have we ever read something like this? If you missed the Deadspin story, read it. Apparently there's a term for it. It's called Catfishing. Questions are asked, eyes widened and speechlessness becomes common. Humanity is funny. The Comedian enjoys the show. That being said, let's ask the one question that's actually relevant.
Will his draft stock fall?
My guess. Not much.
It's taking a hit right now. Absolutely. He's the butt of jokes. Comedians couldn't compare to Twitter's rather entertaining evening. Questions about character are opening up; those will increase or disappear, depending on whether his victim-filled perspective Wednesday was honest. Yet since when did someone's draft stock really mean a damn in January?
Two things are hinting for an April recovery for Te'o right now.
The story's news cycle will be brief. After Deadspin's report surfaced, Notre Dame and Te'o quickly released a statement to put a face to the sham. Talk radio isn't going to ask, "when is he going to say something." He already did. Check. He'll answer more questions, appear on television to talk about it. Whether you actually believe him, playing the victim, is another matter and additional stories may shed expanding perspective. Beyond that the cycle will slowly squeeze shut and save for the remnants of funny jokes, we'll just file under "holy s**t, really?"
Bound to resurface during NFL and team-specific events, notably the NFL Combine and Pro Days, an entirely different path will be laid out. While the media will ask "what now" to observers that continuously wag divine-like fingers of mega-character holiness, coaches and scouts will have their opportunities to sit with Te'o, privately, to really gauge his character, maybe even flesh out what actually happened. More points. Mega points for honesty.
At that point he'll blow people away with his athleticism while scouts rewind coaches tape prior to the unified chorus of, "oh yea, he's a fantastic player." And really, that's 95 percent relevant. Teams want to win. They'll do that with anyone that they can. Save for the reminders of January 16, 2013, attention will be paid on how he can help improve your roster. Would you rather have Te'o or Rey Maualuga return? And before you say Maualuga, remember he's been arrested multiple times for drunk driving and even underwent a program. He loves the sauce. On the field, Te'o or Maualuga? You're thinking about it. I can tell. I've thought about it since the story broke with a creeping shadow saying, "well he might fall to us."
Four months remain for the NFL draft; plenty of time for Te'o to repair his image, clear out the story, convincing teams through interviews and the predraft process that he's worth the investment.
Whatever you know, what you think you know, winning will win the day over everything else. And if teams feel someone like Te'o helps them win, he'll be drafted. And if he falls to the second round, don't tell me today that you'd refuse the selection. There's four months remaining. Things will change.