I understand why there are those who feel the Bears will draft Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o with the 20th selection in the Draft. ESPN analyst Todd McShay is certainly one of them, projecting Te'o to the Bears in his latest mock. But I'm here to tell you, dear Bears fans, that it isn't going to happen.
Sure, the Bears need a middle linebacker to eventually replace the long-time face of the franchise, Brian Urlacher. But not only is Te'o a potential head case, he is a good but not great player, in my opinion. And only a great defensive player should derail the team from following up on its promise to improve the offense this offseason.
Sure, free agency and even trades are avenues for Emery to upgrade the offense. But I feel the Draft, and particularly the first-round pick, is the best way for the Bears to kick-start that improvement process.
We don't know for sure if Chicago has any plans to re-sign Urlacher, but even if they do not, taking Te'o is a bad idea. For one, Te'o is not physically ready to start at MLB in the NFL. While he is a good player, to be sure, he lacks elite athleticism. Then there is the whole invisible girlfriend thing, which probably shouldn't matter to his football future, but let's face it, it does make one question whether the kid is emotionally or mentally ready to start in the NFL.
You can count McShay as one who doesn't believe that the off-the-field exploits will matter to teams in the Draft. And that may be true, as many point to his 40 time at the Scouting Combine as a key indicator as to whether Te'o is a first-round talent. And while I do think he will be drafted among the first 32, I just get the sense that Emery and company don't want the drama associated with Te'o.
But the main reason that Te'o won't be a Bear is that they desperately need help on the offensive line and they also need a TE who can catch the ball. Look, they signed Marc Trestman to be their next head coach because they want him to fix the offense. While it's necessary to keep the defense going, selecting Te'o won't help him on the offensive side of the ball.
Hey, I know it's intriguing. Te'o is a local kid who played at a high level in what was an outstanding year for the Irish this past season. But like his girlfriend, any dreams of him donning the blue and orange is just a hoax.
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