The embattled linebacker from Notre Dame needed a good performance at the Combine in Indianapolis and didn't do as well as he had hoped. It's unclear just how much the performance hurt his draft stock.
He may have aced the questions shot at him in interviews this weekend, but Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o gave the media many more to throw his way on Monday. Perhaps no other prospect needed a good workout more than Te'o and, unfortunately, he didn't answer any of his critics with his 4.81 40-yard dash time. It's not exactly the type of thing that scouts wanted to see after his deplorable performance in his last collegiate game against Alabama.
The day wasn't without it's high points though, Te'o did fare well in the three-cone and 20-yard shuttle drills. Still, Te'o looked smaller and slower than most thought, and he wasn't one of the position group's better performer on the bench press. He finished that event outside of the top-15.
The 40-yard dash time is a bit puzzling, though. All we have heard since the girlfriend hoax that plagued Te'o over the past two months is his work ethic and all of the time he has put in to working out. It's usually standard practice for these athletic training facilities that specialize in NFL prospects to master a the drill to put up a good time.
NFL films guru Greg Cosell claims that Te'o's draft stock shouldn't take a hit because the "Golden Domer" was a late first round talent all along. So, if you're wondering if Te'o is going to do a Vontaze Burfict-like tumble with his draft stock, that seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened. As it currently stands, a guy that was once considered a top-ten talent could be headed towards the back end of the first round or later.
It will be an interesting scenario if Te'o is there when the Bengals pick at No.21. If they hadn't picked up a middle linebacker in free agency and remain noncommittal to moving Burfict to that spot, they might have to have a look at him. If they bypass linebacker in the first round and Te'o is there in the second round, we could see a situation where they take a shot on him, as that's when the team takes chances on players and/or often grab the best available, regardless of position.
Whatever the case, Te'o will have to rely on the game tapes for the first twelve games of 2012. He claims he can do better and will have to prove it at his Pro Day.