Manti Te’o is the most polarizing prospect in this year’s NFL draft class, but Bill Belichick still plans to evaluate him just like he would any other player.
Belichick was in South Bend, Ind., on Thursday to speak at the Notre Dame Coaches Football clinic and talked about the rich tradition of Notre Dame football, some of his connections to the program and even covertly addressed Te’o as a prospect.
“I saw him along with all of the other defensive players,” Belichick said. “I’d say with any player – not him in particular or anybody else in particular – each player has their own composite. It’s a mosaic of their football career which can have a lot of twists and turns to it – their personal side, their testing, their interview process, their injuries, their production, their circumstances that surrounded their playing career on and off the field. Each guy’s unique. Each guy’s special in their own way.
“We try to evaluate each of them and put a value on them and then do what we feel is best for our football team. All players have strengths, all players have weaknesses. All players have things that are positives and then there’s some things maybe aren’t up to the standard they would like them to be or that is standard for their position and rarely do you get a player that’s exceptional in all areas. We just evaluate each guy and look at his composite independently and it’s unique value and try to figure it all out. It’s a very inexact science as we all know.”
Te’o was expected to be a first-round lock before the Lennay Kekua controversy and an awful showing at the NFL combine saw his draft stock take a nosedive. The Patriots are set at linebacker with Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower already in house, but that wouldn’t keep Belichick from taking a chance on a player with so much potential.
Watch Belichick answer questions from the media at Notre Dame in the video below.