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Old 02-17-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
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Default Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

Robinson: Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013

He is an acknowledged leader, an instinctive player who isn't a project but a producer. He was primarily responsible for the long-awaited turnaround of college football's classic program, a feat perhaps even more befitting of a Hollywood movie than Rudy.

He would seem to be the prototypical Steelers player. He fits one of their biggest needs. And he could be available at No. 17 when the Steelers make their first-round draft pick on April 25.

If only there wasn't the asterisk beside the name of Manti Te'o that, in the aftermath of the recent revelation that the girlfriend he talked about for months was fictional, has raised considerable questions about the Notre Dame linebacker's previously unquestioned character and judgment.

How well or how poorly Te'o begins to erase that asterisk will be one of the most-watched stories at the NFL Scouting Combine that begins this week in Indianapolis. And, no doubt, the Steelers will be among those watching.

Several mock drafts have the Steelers choosing Te'o, who is ranked by many draft evaluators between the 15th and 25th best player available.

It has nothing to do with the off-field stuff. It's where he grades out as a player, said ESPN draft expert Todd McShay, who said earlier projections putting Te'o in the top five were much too high. That's one of the questions: Can he be a really good third-down or passing-down linebacker? I think this year helped him, the seven interceptions. ... He was quicker this year because he took off some weight. You can tell he was moving better than he had in years past.

Even with the Steelers' multiple needs wide receiver, defensive line, secondary, offensive line it might make sense for them to choose an inside linebacker. A year ago they almost certainly would have gone for Dont'a Hightower had David DeCastro not unexpectedly fallen into their laps.

The Steelers badly need inside linebackers, even if 2012 third-round pick Sean Spence returns from his serious training camp knee injury and is ready for the start of the season.

Larry Foote probably won't come back after being one of the NFL's lowest-graded linebackers last season. And backups Brandon Johnson and Stevenson Sylvester could leave via free agency.

Of course, should the Steelers choose Te'o, he would be hounded by questions at least at first by the fake girlfriend story and how he kept it going even after he knew it was a hoax.

But once the season started, all that would fade, and it would matter only if Te'o can play. And while he is a natural middle linebacker a position the Steelers don't have in Dick LeBeau's 3-4 defense he would seem to be a good fit for what they do. Notre Dame also ran a 3-4.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Te'o would be a good fit as Ray Lewis' replacement in Baltimore. Kiper thinks he could be gone before the Steelers choose.

You love the ball skills, the instincts getting there, McShay said. I like him as a player. I think he's a really good player, but I don't think he's a (49ers linebacker) Patrick Willis, that kind of value in a player in terms of the athleticism and the complete game. I don't even think he's a (Panthers linebacker) Luke Kuechly in terms of the complete game. And that's why I have him in the mid-to-late first-round range.

That's where the Steelers draft. And if it hadn't been for the phantom girlfriend and all the questions about Te'o's judgment and maturity that the unsightly mess created, he and the Steelers would appear to be the perfect couple.

A perfect real-life couple.

http://triblive.com/sports/nfl/34720...#ixzz2LAxzUhbC
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

Unlike most of the people here, I wouldn't mind if the Steelers pick him at #17.

Unless Jarvis Jones is available.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

i wouldn't be against that. however i was kind of hoping on spence making a recovery and impact, though that was a gruesome injury
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

I wouldn't complain. I would rather have a pass rusher in the 1st but as long as we don'tgrab another end or lineman iI wouldn't complain
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

He's still the same player he was before all of his Jerry Springer drama got started. Regardless of that, I'd still take him. He'd come to camp having to compete with Spence, who is an inexperienced, undersized linebacker coming off a terrible season-ending injury, and the oft-injured, underachieving Stevenson Sylvester. Chances are Te'o could start day one. That's great value. I'm pretty sure if we are too turned off by his soap opera to draft him, the ravens won't be.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

I love the Teo' pick! Spence has many many questions even before the injury.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

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I love the Teo' pick! Spence has many many questions even before the injury.
Exactly. I hope Spence can exceed expectations, but as there were questions before he even got hurt, now there are even more.

I would love to get Teo and a safety in the first two rounds. I just don't know what quality safeties would be there for us in round 2. If we do draft Teo, I would like to see the Steelers try to move up and grab one of the better safeties in the 2nd.

I think a top safety is more important to this defense than a top linebacker, but Teo might be a too-good-to-pass-up opportunity.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

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Originally Posted by kan_t View Post
Unlike most of the people here, I wouldn't mind if the Steelers pick him at #17.

Unless Jarvis Jones is available.
Jones is probably a top 10, if not top 5 pick. Highly doubt he will be available past that. Steelers would have to trade up to get him. Don't see it happening, unfortunately.

Is Te'O even first round worthy? He didn't look that great in the National Champ Game against Alabama.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

Teo was completely owned in the NC. He couldn't shed blocks and he continually was blocked and run over at the point of attack and at the second level by pulling guards, center and TE's.

We should not pick him.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Robinson: Manti Teo, Steelers could be perfect couple

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Teo was completely owned in the NC. He couldn't shed blocks and he continually was blocked and run over at the point of attack and at the second level by pulling guards, center and TE's.

We should not pick him.
So we should completely disregard all of his good games because of one bad game? Should we bury every player that has had a bad game? There will be awfully slim pickings after that.
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