The rumblings surrounding Manti Te’o‘s draft stock grew even louder after his subpar performance at the NFL combine. All of the hoopla has raised concerns among all 32 NFL teams and even has one team feeling scared.
New York Jets personnel director Terry Bradway weighed in on Te’o’s unsteady draft status on Thursday, even saying that the enigmatic linebacker “scares you a little bit,” according to ESPN New York.
“It’s an unusual situation, that’s for sure,” Bradway said. “I feel bad for him. I mean, the stress of the situation has to have had an impact on his training somehow. I think he’s going to run faster at his pro day at the end of [March].”
Te’o finished as the runner-up in last season’s Heisman voting after a terrific season at Notre Dame, but a terrible performance in the BCS Championship Game had many questioning his viability at the next level. The strangely intriguing case of the Lennay Kekua hoax only managed to drag Te’o down even further before an underwhelming combine performance just made matters worse.
“He’s a good football player,” Bradway added of Te’o. “I know a lot of us gave him pretty good grades, but when you look at the Alabama game and you look at what’s happened since, it just scares you a little bit. … It has caused everybody to go back and re-watch and see what we have here. It’s going to be interesting to see where he’s drafted.”
After running a lackluster 4.82 in the 40-yard dash, Te’o is likely hanging on to his first-round draft hopes by a thread. The Jets, who have the No. 9 pick in April’s draft, probably aren’t considering him anyway, but their apparent fear all but confirms that belief.
Te’o will find a home — it just won’t be with the Jets.