With the Steelers in position because of need and draft slot to have a legitimate shot of taking Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, the question has popped up if they would still be interested in Te’o in light of the recent ‘hoax’ involving the death of what turned out to be his fake internet girlfriend.
Truth of the matter is that it is way too early to make that determination.
However, as it sit right now, there is nothing that has come out (as of Jan. 17) that suggest that the ‘hoax’ should affect Te’o’s draft status.
If the kid can play, he can play, and that will be determined over the next few months at the Combine and at his Pro Day.
It would be irresponsible for any NFL organization to let this affect his draft position as we stand today.
If you are an NFL organization that tosses him off your draft board because he was ‘duped’ or may have not been 100 percent honest, then you are doing your organization a disservice.
Te’o did nothing illegal and nothing wrong, other than maybe have a lack of judgment and common sense. And seriously, if you feel like looking, I am sure you can come up with many 21-year-olds in this year’s draft that did something entailing a lack of judgment and common sense.
As for the Steelers, they will absolutely not eliminate Te’o from consideration because of this. Kevin Colbert will do his due diligence and the organization will investigate the issue for itself and make its own determination based on what they find and how their interview at the Combine goes.
But the bottom line is that if it is determined by the scouts and the organization that Te’o is a legitimate player and can help them, the Steelers would and should take him. Same goes with every other team in the league.
But again, this is all predicated on what we know now.
Tomorrow might bring something totally different.