The wait in Hawaii was longer than expected, but linebacker Manti Te'o found a home in San Diego in the second round. Overseeing his first draft for the Chargers, general manager Tom Telesco is chomping at the bit to see his new linebacker get to work.
Rated by the Chargers as a first-round player, Teleso wasted no time in trading up to secure the player they wanted. He told chargers.com that they felt the value was there.
"When you have a guy rated that's a first-round player at a position we could use a player, to sit and wait and if he goes off a pick before us, there's no worse feel in the world."
Having a major need at inside linebacker, head coach Mike McCoy gets a player with immense on-field talent, even if the buzz surrounding Te'o in recent months has been about his off-field issues. San Diego showed an aggressive approach in the second round, and their reward was a player they think can be a leader on the new-look Chargers' defense.
"(He) loves football, which is what we're looking for. Loves to practice, loves to play, loves to watch film. He's a leader. He was a leader at Notre Dame, not only with the football team, but just on that campus. He fits all of those qualifications for us."
Moving up seven spots to secure his services, it's now on the Notre Dame linebacker to show the ability that garnered a Heisman Trophy nomination in 2012. He was the only defensive player to get such consideration. Following in the footsteps of Chargers' legend Junior Seau will be difficult. Those are big shoes to fill on their defense, but landing in San Diego could be a godsend for T'eo. He can grow as a player outside of the limelight a larger market would have shined on him.
After the last few months and the punchlines and derogatory comments, it's about football again. Away from the tabloids, it's on the field where Manti Te'o can re-assert himself as one of the premier linebackers to come out of the 2013 draft.