Silly to think that Manti Te’o Saga Should Affect Draft Stock

While it features a prominent football player, the jaw-dropping story of what happened to Manti Te'o — documented here by Deadspin — isn't really a sports story. It goes well beyond that world. 

Still, there is an important NFL angle to consider, and that pertains to the Heisman runner-up's stock for this April's draft. There's been a lot of buzz on Twitter that teams could reconsider drafting a guy who has been considered by many to be a surefire top-10 pick. 

The reality, though, is that if anything at all should hurt his draft stock, it was Te'o's poor performance for Notre Dame in the BCS Title Game last Monday, not whether he either lied to the country about a "girlfriend" or was lied to about said "girlfriend" by others. 

Those missed tackles he had against Alabama — those matter. Not this. If you're an NFL executive or coach and you're thinking about this, you're thinking too much. 

I hate to pile on if indeed Te'o is a victim, but the reality here is he either made the whole thing up or he was duped hard. I'm not sure which is worse. All that matters is he's either a big liar or a big sap. Neither should be a factor when trying to assess the credentials of a man who makes his living running, catching and hitting other humans as hard as he can. 

This is a billion-dollar business, and you if you believe that Manti Te'o is the best inside linebacker in this draft class and don't take him because you think he's essentially a dumbass or a fraud in his own time, then you're doing your team and its fans an injustice.  The pro sports world is littered with stupid young people who make bad decisions. Worry about those who risk going to jail or getting suspended, not those who merely risk embarrassing themselves. 

Hopefully nobody will be silly enough to pass on Te'o based on the fecal matter that hit the fan Wednesday. Hopefully the only teams that remove Te'o from their draft boards are those that never had "linebacker" on their grocery lists in the first place. 

All this should do is making the Scouting Combine about 879 percent more interesting than usual. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.