On the first day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, former Notre Dame standout linebacker Manti Te’o confirmed that the Packers were one of two teams who had met with him early in the day. Te’o said that he had already met with the Texans and the Packers when he addressed the media on Saturday. You can watch it here, courtesy of NFL.com.
It’s noteworthy that the Packers were one of the first teams to meet with Te’o because of who he is as a prospect coming out of college and because of the “hoax” situation. I won’t re-hash it and I’m sure most of you know the story by now but if not, you can read more here. Every year there seems to be a player of intrigue that everyone follows and Te’o could be that player this year.
Now, before we get carried away, let’s also remember that Te’o will likely meet with most teams before the Combine is over with so in the end, the Packers are just one of 32.
Most NFL GM’s do their full due diligence and meet with players even if they don’t feel that they will be available when their team’s draft selection comes up. Packers GM Ted Thompson is no exception. You never know what will happen on draft day and teams need to be prepared.
During the Q&A session with media. Te’o, as expected, answered many more questions about the hoax situation and his character than he did about football. In fact, the only football-related question that was really asked of him was why he played so poorly in the BCS Championship game in January.
You can judge for yourself how he handled himself and I am not 100% sold on which way I would lean, myself. He kept his composure and appeared to be prepared for the type of questions he was asked. His overall message was that it was unfortunate and that he was trying to move past it and start his NFL career. He said that he is trying to focus on the things he can control versus the things that he cannot, at this point. That is a great mentality in theory, but let’s see how he holds up when he is bombarded with more questions about his personal life as this next season moves along.
We discussed Te’o a bit in our last podcast in which we discussed the linebacker position in looking ahead to 2013. I said that I am not convinced that Te’o translates into an NFL linebacker and I have my reservations about how well he would play as a pro.
To see the Packers select him, in what will likely be the first round or early second, would be a surprise. The team has more pressing needs than an inside linebacker and especially one that is anything but a “sure thing”. As we know, there are no sure things or slam dunks when drafting players, but Te’o isn’t even in that conversation among scouts and media alike.
We will, of course, keep an eye on any developments, but my hunch is that this may be the one and only time we see Te’o’s name connected with the Packers.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: