It's been quite the fall from grace for University of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. A good portion of the fall was his own doing because of the crazy circumstances that unfolded shortly before the National Championship game a few months back. We won't go into the whole mess, as you'd have to be living in a bomb shelter to not have heard about some of the oddest sequences of events that we've ever heard.
Because of that situation and a subsequent poor performance in that National Championship game for the Irish, a once top-ten draft stock that was held by Te'o is looking more like he will drop almost a full round. A poor Combine performance in February didn't help things either as he looked slow and relatively out of shape. Really, the only recovery Te'o has made with his draft stock was with his interviews, as he has said and done all of the right things there.
A report on Thursday night surfaced from Eric Hansen (courtesy of the relay from Joe Reedy), Notre Dame's insider, that the Cincinnati Bengals have had a visit with the embattled linebacker. And they are in the vast minority, in terms of the total amount of teams who have visited with him.
In some early mock drafts, Te'o was mocked to the Bengals at their No.21 pick because of the never-ending stereotype of the Bengals taking chances on "troubled players". That has cooled quite a bit because of some poor workouts from Te'o and we've recently seen him fall towards the back end of the first round or even into the second round.
The Bengals need linebacker help in this year's draft class, there's no doubt about that. While grabbing Te'o with their No.37 or No.53 pick in the second round would be solid value, the issue is that the Bengals would likely have three middle linebackers out on defense at the same time. Because of his seven interceptions in his senior season, one would have to say that Te'o would be the best pass defender of the trio of he, Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict; though that's not saying too much as that isn't a strength of the latter two.
It's wise of the Bengals to check out as many prominent prospects as they can at positions of need, though. It's part of the draft process and they may find something in Te'o that they feel will vastly improve their defense.