If so, what round?
Tough call. If I'm a GM and I take Te'o in the first round, I might be looking for another job if Te'o doesn't pan out. He's a high-profile player so there's no escaping the media scrutiny he and his team will receive. I don't know if I'd even take him in the second round. His size also makes him a risky pick. But, you know someone is going to take a chance on him in the first two rounds.
In the first round, I think you're asking for trouble. I think he is definitely worthy of 2nd Round consideration, although one of his best aspects is his leadership. It'll be hard to be seen as a leader (and get that respect in the locker room) after everything that has happened. Much respect to Deadspin for breaking the story.
OneJet I have to agree with you that his position hurts him
The fake girlfriend story certainly had an effect on his play during the NCG. He did look lost during the entire game. Perhaps he can redeem himself in the combines (is he going?). Yes, he is a bit small but he proved throughout the season he is a monster ball hawk and he has great instincts. Would I take him before any other linebackers? No, I'd probably put Ogletree and Minter ahead of Te'o.
He has been invited to the combine, but no commit yet. Tough call as to ranking the ILB, as each team requires a different kind of LB for their system. I would still have him 1 or 2 with Ogletree if I was a GM.
OneJet I have to agree with you that his position hurts him. His size possibly limits him to being a 3-4 ILB, which as you said limits his options. And Lamar, while I think it's fair to assume that Manti was in a weird mental state, he just looked physically overmatched against the Bama talent that is what he will be facing in the NFL.
I think he will go in the 1st round, even so. A good team, picking near the end of the 1st round, will take him because he is a safe investment. I'm not sold on him being a game-changing talent at the next level though.
After the bama game and now with this girlfriend hoax, I think it is pretty safe to say he will go in the latter part of the first day. I still think he is a day 1 pick but I'm looking at teams picking near the end. You could be getting a good investment if you pick him up late but I feel there are a lot of better LB on the board earlier on.
Because he is a LB, and limited to certain schemes, I think he's not a first rounder this year, with the other needs that teams have. Doesn't mean he's not worthy of a first round pick, just won't happen IMO.
I'd honestly take T'eo with a high second round pick. He looked mediocre at best during the National Championship game, but so did the entire ND defense. It's hard for one player to make up for an entire defense getting pushed around by a mammoth offensive line. His whole fake girlfriend thing doesn't matter to me if I'm a GM. I'm trying to find an intelligent, quick thinking, hard hitting linebacker, and T'eo certainly is all of those in my opinion.
Agree with Matt completely. High 2nd round seems to be the sensible place to take him to eliminate the downside of a wasted first-round pick, and maximize the upside if he does pan out at the next level.
Also think that it is ridiculous that his draft stock in any way be affected because of the girlfriend thing: He doesn't need to be a leader right away in the locker room, if he can prove it on the field, then eventually he'll earn the respect of his teammates. If anything, the media scrutiny that Cyrus talks about may have some upside for teams like Jacksonville or Tennessee who aren't in the media spotlight all the time.
@Matt - It was all the missed tackles by Te'o that was so shocking. I mean easy tackles that he just whiffed on. I don't agree with Asa that he was physically overmatched. His head just wasn't in the game. Te'o will probably be fine in the NFL, but the fans will be subjected to the Lennay story every time Te'o is on camera. That's the only reason I wouldn't want him on my team.
It's tough to say. If I was a GM for a team is desperate need of linebacker help then yes. However, if one is not truly needed, I wouldn't draft him. The kid has range. But lots of hype. Fear there is more hype than there is game.
I think Nico Johnson is very underrated. As OneJet points out, he was a key piece of Bama's defense this season, but got overshadowed by the more prolific Hubbard and Moseley. He'll be a solid mid to late 2nd-ish pick.
Kiko Alonso! He's raw, but whoever gets him is going to love him.