Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o…. ©Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans are evaluating everything this offseason. The fact that MLB Colin McCarthy has struggled with injuries through his first couple years in the NFL certainly has him under their magnifying glass, and he knows it:
"Until I stop getting hurt and can stay on the field for 16 games, that is going to be something for people to talk about,” said McCarthy, a fourth-round pick in 2011. “It is going to be an issue. It’s unfortunate. I don’t know if it’s bad luck or whatever, but hopefully it will turn."
McCarthy is a great player, but when he’s not on the field, it hurts the Titans big time. The Titans will at least be looking for depth at LB this year. With McCarthy being in question, they could look for a replacement, or at least someone to split reps with.
Before this whole fake girlfriend thing came to light, Te’o looked like he’d be a 1st round pick, easy. Now, things almost certainly will change. According the Matt Miller of B/R, some teams have taken Te’o right of their boards. They don’t care to deal with any drama or character concerns. Te’o already had some
November 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te
speed concerns surrounding him. Coupled with a poor performance in the BCS championship, Te’o has plenty to prove at the combine and will probably have hurt himself by turning down an invite to the Senior Bowl.
So where will he fall to? That’s the question.
The draft is unpredictable. Akeem Ayers seemed locked to go in the 1st round a few years ago, but the Titans snagged him in the 2nd. Vontaze Burfict made waves with off-the-field issues before the draft, had a poor combine, and he ended up going undrafted after he had previously been pegged as possibly being a top-5 pick.
Te’o’s situation certainly is unique. He created a media explosion, one that teams certainly wouldn’t like centering around them. In the end, it’ll probably come down to how his interviews go. He’ll really have to prove that he’s just that innocent and gullible of a guy. Whether teams buy it or not will make all the difference in his draft stock.
Say the Titans buy it, I could see them taking a flyer on Te’o if he’s still on the board in the 3rd or 4th round. If he is the innocent kid he claims to be, he seems to be a guy after Munchak’s own heart.
As long as this drama blows over and Te’o comes out on the innocent side, it’s memory will fade in a year, especially if Te’o has a strong rookie season. If Ray Lewis can be so celebrated after being linked to some horrific homicides, I think the world can forgive Te’o for being a innocent and naive young man.
Unless he isn’t. It’s a vicious circle that never ends…
What do you think? David Climer of the Tennessean says hell no.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart