Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te

Time For Raiders To Rethink Manti Te’o?


By the time the calendar hit October Raider Nation was already looking forward to the draft. We all knew the season was pretty much doomed the second Greg Knapp was hired but our worst fears were realized a mere month into the season.

One name that many members of the Nation had high on their draft boards was Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o. At the time it made a lot of sense for the Raiders to be looking at upgrading their defense by taking Te’o high in round one. The awful performance of Oakland’s defense combined with the complete lack of production and leadership from Rolando McClain made Te’o an attractive prospect.

Coming out of high school Te’o was one of the nation’s top recruits and his Heisman candidacy as a senior only cemented his legacy.

However after last night’s horrible performance by Te’o and his fellow Irish defenders in the snooze fest that was the supposed BCS title game it could be time to re-think his draft stock.

First and foremost Reggie McKenzie made too many rookie mistakes in his first year on the job. Any patience that was expected from owner Mark Davis went out the window in the second half of this lost season. So that means McKenzie can’t afford a bust with a top three pick.

Before last night Te’o looked like the poor man’s Ray Lewis. A fiery leader that played sideline to sideline making plays with passionate and infectious energy.

Then Te’o ran into an Alabama O-line that is about the closest thing you’ll find to an NFL unit in college football this year. Simply put the Tide rolled right over Te’o who suddenly looked McClain-esque being a step late, taking bad angles and getting swallowed by Bama’s bullying blockers.

Now the question must be asked.

Is Te’o worth the risk at third overall?

Now its one game so it would be unfair to ignore all of what Te’o did during the season and indeed his entire collegiate career. However it is impossible to ignore how overmatched he was against NFL level talent. If this was his reaction to the first time he’s been challenged by superior talent then how will things unfold in the heat of camp where grown men duel for jobs?

Who knows where Te’o is on Oakland’s draft board. At no point has McKenzie or anyone in the organization shown the level of interest many members of Raider Nation have. But being one of the top talents in the NCAA has no doubt put Te’o in Oakland’s wheelhouse in some way.

Whether or not the Raiders were considering Te’o at third overall is unknown. But after last night the mere thought of picking him that high has got to come with a moment of pause. Te’o wasn’t alone in his struggles but he was obviously outclassed and his stock should take a hit in some way. Of course he could blow away the scouts at the combine and all this will be forgotten. That’s the draft process. For better or worse. In the case of Oakland…almost always worse these days.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Manti Te'o Oakland Raiders

  • irapaul

    After seeing him last night I think he drops to 3 or 4th round. He was aggressive but as you said took bad angles and could not tackle.

  • ColoradoRaiderFan

    I say hes good, but I still maintain we draft Star. Guarranteed bad a**. We need a hulking, aggressive, strong, havoc causing wrecking machine in the fine Raider tradition. Add Star with Bryant and Houston and Carter(if hes back????R u kidding? thats an aggressive line which in its own way improve the line backing corp on its on.

  • http://www.basesandbaskets.com/ Elijah

    I’m down for Te’o. Who else would we get?

  • DondiRaider

    Hell no TEO in round 1….we need a pass rusher, OT and CB top 3 priorities …Mck wont spend $ for a top FA pass rusher so its through the draft and TEO aint it! Last night go nothing to do with it

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bigpapa72 Ramon Ray Torres

    ONE GAME!! YOU CAN’T SAY NO AFTER ONE GAME. HE’S A LEADER AND ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT COME AROUND EVERY SO OFFTEN, TE’O HAS MY VOTE AND THE RAIDERS SHOULD REALLY LOOK AT THE KIND OF PERSON HE IS ON AND OFF THE FIELD. WE NEED SOMEONE THAT WILL TAKE CONTROL OF THE DEFENSE. SOMEONE WHO LEAD THEM EVERY PLAY…TE’O!!!

  • mccall316

    The dude will be a bust and at best a decent player who never makes a real impact. I was down on the kid 3 months ago and now he isn’t worthy of a 1st round pick. Oak has way more issues than a LB. Go d-line, cb or ot.

  • Reacher

    We should take Star or Werner at #3. If we decide to trade down, we should take Manti Te’o around 13th. Te’o is NOT a #3 pick, but he IS a #12-15 pick. It’s even better if we get an additional 2nd and possibly an additional 3rd round pick in addition to Te’o.

  • disqus_d1AQKtnTu1

    Look teo is a leader tell me how everyone on ur draft board did and look at the stats Teo could have had more tackles but he was trying and he will not give up like some players that’s what the raiders need real fans know that