With the No. 38 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers selected linebacker Manti Te'o out of Notre Dame. The Chargers moved up in the draft, swapping picks with the Arizona Cardinals to select the middle linebacker. Te'o is SB Nation's No. 3-rated middle linebacker in the 2013 draft class, and SB Nation's Dan Kadar rates him as the No. 29 overall player in this year's draft.
Te'o has been one of the most scrutinized prospects in this year's draft. He was already one of the most public figures in college football thanks to his on-field success and the resurgence of Notre Dame, but he received an overwhelming amount of publicity following the Lennay Kekua incident.
Dubious headlines, a poor performance in the BCS Championship game against Alabama, and a disappointing 40-time at the NFL Combine may have all contributed to Te'o's fall from the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. During his Heisman campaign, many had him pegged as a potential top 10 pick. He was still considered a first-round pick by many up until Thursday, but that dream died when the Baltimore Ravens, considered a possible destination for Te'o, selected safety Matt Elam at No. 32 instead.
Despite the negative press, Te'o is still an impressive prospect with the potential to be a team leader for years to come. He has a strong motor and is a very smart player. Though his measurable aren't as good as many had hoped, there are still few better at putting himself in the right position at the right time.
Kadar compared Te'o to Takeo Spikes of the San Diego Chargers in a January scouting report.
He's NFL ready as a prospect because of his instincts and tackling ability. But he's limited as a prospect. His ceiling isn't as high as some players because he doesn't have top-end athleticism. He's strictly a middle linebacker, and may be best suited to 3-4 teams that ask one of the inside linebackers to mainly play the run and work inside the box.
Te'o should upgrade the team's front seven immediately. He is a good tackler and has proven to be a solid leader. The Chargers now have to play against Peyton Manning twice a year, and Te'o's ability to lead a defense likely impressed the Chargers the most. He was considered by many the best player available left on the board. He should be able to start immediately.
Weight: 243 pounds
Hand size: 9.5 inches
Arm length: 32.5 inches
40-yard dash: 4.71 seconds (result from Notre Dame Pro Day)
Vertical jump: 33 inches
Broad jump: 9'5
Bench press: 21 reps
3-cone drill: 7.13 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.27 seconds
Te'o is not a workout warrior; his production is seen on the field. He won a long list of awards as a senior including the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award while earning first-team All-American honors and leading the Irish to an undefeated regular season.