Manti Te’o – LB – Notre Dame (Ongoing Observations)

24 Oct

vs Stanford: Very aggressive, stiff side-to-side, at best moving forward, OK awareness in coverage but will be sucked up with play-action, Missed tackles when he’s shooting gaps, emotional player, moved his own teammate to make tackle himself on crucial 3rd down, leaves his feet, poor vision/awareness in traffic/bodies around feet, very tough/physical, Down-hill player

vs Miami: Lineman cut-blocking him; not using eyes & hands, better in pass coverage when receiver is in front of him, made a nice pass deflection over his head, ball-carriers suck him into the hole then bounce outside & he’s taking the bait, doesn’t always wrap-up

vs Michigan State: His best game so far, decisive play in pass game on anything in his line of vision, wrapped-up most tackle attempts today, he’s instinctive; usually moving before other LBs and shooting gaps. Good ball-skills & reaction on last play. Two plays stood out: 1) The pass to his right, he closes in on the WR who cuts quickly and moves up field. Te’o left his feet and lost all control there. 2) Run play, Te’o shoots gap and tackles Bell by ankles. He trusts his average athleticism maybe too much. He does this a lot; he takes the backside gap and tries to tackle from behind instead of scrapping across and making tackle. Faster NFL backs will make him look foolish.

vs Michigan: First interception thrown right at him, 2nd was tipped and he made a great catch. Te’o can win when engaged in hand-fights with blockers but too often he’d rather thump-and-bounce-off or dip under and use his strength/balance to defeat blockers. He doesn’t even look at them; seems to never take his eyes off ball. Spied D.Robinson and kept contain on pass plays. Poor vision and awareness against option plays. Solid day in coverage; not a liability, but can be exploited. Not much of a pass rusher.

Overall: He’s a thumper but doesn’t look athletic enough to be a premier player. I’d like him in a 3-4 ILB role where he’s the Bart Scott “Thumper” role. He’s a little stiff and can get reckless but you have to love his instincts and physical play style.

Comparison:

Late 1st – Early 2nd round

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