As you will recall, Te’o is under a ton of media scrutiny. Never mind his abysmal performance in the BCS National Championship game, where the Alabama Crimson Tide players ran Te’o roughshod.
Versus the Crimson Tide, Te’o missed tackles. The All-American Fighting Irish linebacker rarely missed tackles during the regular season. He also appeared slow with his reactionary skills, originally a strength for him prior to the BCS Championship.
Instead of fielding questions about the Alabama game, the hoax behind Te’o’s deceased girlfriend will take center stage.
A week after the BCS Championship, deadspin.com broke a story regarding Te’o and his statements about the love of his passing away. The buzz behind the story was monumental. Several media outlets considered it the biggest scandal in sports history. This is including the story about Lance Armstrong using performance enhancers and the scandal at Penn State University.
The fictional television character Olivia Pope could not fix either of those two messes. Manti Te’o’s situation is correctable. All he has to do is play football. That is why if I were Chicago Bears’ general manager Phil Emery, I would take him at the 20th pick of the NFL Draft.
Forget about his character issues, can Te’o play football?
Was he not a runner-up in the Heisman voting?
Did he not help lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated record in the regular season and to the BCS Championship game?
Did he somehow forget how to play football?
Selecting Te’o in the NBA Draft is a no-brainer if you are the Bears.
The Bears biggest offseason needs are on the offensive line and at linebacker. If the top O-linemen are off the board when the Bears make their pick, the linebacker position deserves the nod. The Bears will have to realize that there is only one linebacker under contract, in Lance Briggs. Even if they convert defensive end Shea McClellan to linebacker, they will be thin there.
Bringing back Brian Urlacher makes sense, but at 34 how much does he have left?
Te’o would serve as a great understudy for Urlacher. He would get to learn from a Hall of Famer who is still a solid contributor at this stage in his career.
Te’o is a young player that needs guidance. Put aside his naiveté regarding the girlfriend hoax, and focus on his talents on the gridiron. If the Chicago Bears can do that and he is available, they have to follow McShay’s mock draft and select him.