NFL Draft 2013: Manti Te'o Goes To Chargers, Did San Diego Make The Right Pick?

 
on April 26 2013 7:57 PM

Manti Te'o, who has been the subject of intense media scrutiny following a fake girlfriend story that received national attention, was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 38 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on Friday.

The Notre Dame linebacker had previously been projected to be a first-round pick, but slipped to the second round after some scouts questioned his speed in the NFL Combines.

Te'o, 22, spent four seasons with the Fighting Irish and earned several awards following the 2012 season. The was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, and won the prestigious Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award.

ESPN studio analysts Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, and Tim Hasselbeck praised the pick, citing Te'o's tenacity and instincts.

Still, some experts have questioned Te'o's ability to play at the next level. In the national championship game against Alabama, Te'o appeared to struggle against the Crimson Tide offense, and many quickly suggested that he may not live up to the high expectations of the NFL.

Scouts have cited Te'o's upper-body strength and his powerful use of hands to shed blocks. They have also suggested that his work ethic will help him overcome his shortcomings.

The Chargers were expected to strengthen their defense in the draft. In March, San Diego released veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes, who finished second on the team in tackles (78).

The Chargers defense finished sixth in rushing yards allowed (96.4), but were expected to add youth to the unit. Te'o joins a defense that lacked a Pro Bowl player for the 2012 season, and only had one, Eric Weddle, from 2011.

San Diego used the No. 11 pick to select offensive lineman D.J. Fluker from Alabama. Fluker entered the draft as a top pass protector and run blocker.

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