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Manti Te’o

December 7, 2012 by  

Manti Te’o, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is likely to be viewed an enigmatic NFL prospect this spring, a great athlete and winner who’s raw as a passer. Same is likely to go for Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel — a spectacular, but undersized and unconventional quarterback — whenever the redshirt freshman comes out.

That’s not the case with the other Heisman Trophy finalist. Through 48 career starts, scouts and executives have about as clear a read into what Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is as you could imagine.

That doesn’t mean they won’t learn more in February, March and April. They’ll still look into his background. His 40, given some skepticism over his speed, will be important. The impression he makes in interviews will count.

But Te’o is a near certainty to go in the first round, even with his limitations. How high he’s taken is what’s left to be determined.

“He’s certainly a very good first- and second-down player, with the size and strength to meet blockers,” one AFC executive said. “And he did improve this year in coverage, got his hands on the ball, pick it off. He just worked to improve his game. Last year, you saw a guy who you thought might be able to do it. This year, you got more. He may be better in zone than man, but he’s instinctive enough to consistently be in the right place at the right time.”

Trouble for Te’o is, typically, those types of players don’t go in the Top 10.

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