It’s NFL draft day, which can be crazy/exciting/wild for those who get selected high in the process. That will probably happen to BYU’s Ziggy Ansah and Utah’s Star Lotulelei.
Meanwhile, flying under the radar for the first time in several years, there is Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, the LDS player who considered attending BYU.
Same guy who said he got duped into thinking he had an online girlfriend, only to find it was a prankster.
Te’o, who finished second in the Heisman voting, is expected to be a low first-round or early second-round pick. In a way, that might be a good deal for him.
Finally he isn’t the center of attention.
He can get back to being Te’o the football player, not the tabloid star.
Most stories say Te’o’s slide on the draft boards isn’t due to the girlfriend story. It’s that he has limited athleticism. Still, you wonder. One story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a scout saying, “He doesn’t have enough ability to put up with all that. Why fool with it? Try-hard, smart (Wonderlic of 23) guy. This was the first year he’s really gotten himself in shape. Some of his teammates think he’s kind of a phony.”
At the same time, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome said off-field issues aren’t a concern. The South Bend Tribune quoted Newsome saying the girlfriend hoax is a different issue than character.
“But is that beating women, is that using drugs, is it DUI?” Newsome said. “How do you clarify that? I couldn’t.”
Some teams reportedly don’t even have Te’o on their draft charts.
In any case, getting drafted down the charts isn’t all bad news for the much-maligned Te’o. He needs a chance to work on his game. By most accounts, he a humble, likable young man.
Over time he can probably even reinvent his image without the pressure of being a high pick.