Manti Te’o Scouting Report

February 17th, 2013

It’s hard to remember now, but Manti Te’o had a phenomenal career at Notre Dame and offers a lot of NFL potential


QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 255 lbs
Grade: 7.40 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

Athleticism:
+Plays with a wide base and displays good balance through contact
+Perfect build for a linebacker with a solid and pro-ready frame
+Sufficient strength from lower and upper body to play between the tackles and take on big blockers
-Not a special athlete at the linebacker position, open field speed to pursue the ball merely average
+Light on his feet with loose hips to turn or change directions cleanly
-Lacks suddenness to consistently elude blockers or use feet to help shed

Intelligence/Effort:
+Diagnoses plays quickly in the running game and reacts accordingly
+Very disciplined in run fits with an understanding of gap integrity
-Occasionally struggles to locate the ball on misdirection or well-sold fakes
+Experienced linebacker with 35 career starts for the Irish
+High effort pursuer of the ball, ended up 8th on the all-time tackles list at Notre Dame
+Captain on the field and a terrific student in the classroom
-Question marks about his intelligence and off the field conduct enter the picture after the fake girlfriend controversy

Pass Rush:
+Times up blitzes well and is very instinctive, disguises intentions well
-Lacks the necessary acceleration to consistently shoot through holes before blockers can react as a blitzer
-Undeveloped as a blitzer on the whole, lacks counter moves if he’s unable to come unblocked

Run Support:
+Attacks gaps effectively and without hesitation
+Leverage-wary linebacker who takes proper angles to ball carriers
+/-Works laterally to flow over the top and fills holes, range doesn’t extend to the edge as a true sideline to sideline linebacker though
+Has all the necessary power to take on blocks and can effectively meet lead blockers in the hole
-Inconsistent ability to shed blocks with his hands, needs to win with anticipation to be a step ahead of blockers
-Plagued by poor tackling technique, aim is often far too low which is brought about by his tendency to stop and feet and lunge at ball carriers instead of driving hips through contact
+Wraps well as a tackler and can save missed tackles with strong arms

Coverage:
+Plays with his head on a swivel in zone coverage which allows him to identify receivers quickly, consistently gets himself into great positions
+Satisfactory ball skills in coverage, gets his hands to passes in one on one situations very well
+Made the most of interception opportunities as a senior, ability to catch the ball with his hands is sufficient
+Showed improvement in pass coverage yearly in college, aided by loss of weight

Overall:
Before the girlfriend controversy struck, Te’o was widely considered a top ten talent. Unfortunately, that was mostly cooked up by the media. Emotional attachments aside, Te’o is a solid inside linebacker prospect who just doesn’t have the elite athleticism or consistency as a tackler to warrant such a high pick. That’s not to say he doesn’t have first round value. He’s a smart inside linebacker with a high football IQ and a noted leader for the Irish defense. Teams will give Te’o their due diligence at the combine, and if the interviews go well they’ll believe he can be the anchor of their defense for years. He will need to become a more reliable tackler first, but can that really be improved upon? Time will tell. Te’o played in a 3-4 for Bob Diaco and has the skills to translate to that same scheme or to the middle of a 4-3. Either way, it’s unlikely he becomes a high impact linebacker who changes games in your favor at the next level and would be unwise to expect him to do so. Te’o is simply not a top 10 or 15 talent in this draft and should go more in the 20-30 range.—Darren Page

Scouting Notes:

Notre Dame vs. Michigan State
• Reads quarterbacks eyes effectively in zone coverage to get to the tight end on a short hook route, makes contact too early and is called for pass interference, ball was determined to be tipped though
• Flows over the top effectively as Le’Veon Bell bounces a run outside, lacks the open field speed to make the play on the edge though
• Quick to read and react on a speed sweep to the slot receiver, to fast over the top for the cut off block, makes the tackle for a loss
• Bounces off a lead block effectively and meets Bell in the hole, is flat-footed and can’t bring him down though
• Gets a pull read and attacks the hole quickly, miscommunication up front and he comes free to make a tackle for loss
• Fails to break down after a receiver starts going east/west after a short route, lunges to make tackle and completely misses
• Limits yards after catch with quick tackles on multiple short routes to Dion Sims
• Gets a hand over the top of Sims to bat the pass away on a short hook at the sticks on third and short

Notre Dame vs. Michigan
• Doesn’t trust initial read of outside zone keep with Robinson when an end around is faked, jumps at the reverse
• Turns and runs to get over the top on a speed sweep and almost overruns the play when the receiver cuts upfield, just brings him down with an arm tackle
• Slow to break on the ball in the space to his left and Robinson squeezes it in
• Closes quickly on the back while unblocked on a pitch pass, forces a hurried throw for an interception
• Reads run and attacks quickly despite the pump fake from Robinson on a QB draw, makes the tackle in the hole despite lunging and almost missing when Robinson jukes
• Gets great depth in zone coverage and drifts with Robinson as he moves in the pocket who throws the ball right to Te’o’s numbers for an interception
• Attacks from an unblocked position on play action, which he’s not thrown off by, and forces a hurried throw from Robinson which gets intercepted
• Shows concentration and ball skills to come down with a second interception off of a tipped ball
• Shoots backside of an edge block against an outside zone and doesn’t have the angle to make the play on Robinson
• Anticipates effectively while following a pull block, gets into the hole before his blocker ever has a chance and makes the tackle on a QB power
• Redirects cleanly multiple times in one play for both play action and when Robinson pulls it down, makes the tackle for a minimal gain

Notre Dame vs. Miami
• Takes a bad angle on a speed sweep but redirects effectively and chases down receiver to make the tackle
• Struggles to play off multiple cut blocks at the second level and ends up on the ground
• Meets a guard in the hole but doesn’t fire his hands and gets driven back trying to shed
• Breaks on a crossing route quickly and would have brought the receiver down for no yards after the catch if he hadn’t dropped the pass
• Quick to read play action pass and sinks into zone coverage where Stephen Morris is looking, forced to hold on to the ball and scramble
• Gets a fingertip to a pass over the middle to deflect the pass

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