The Oakland Raiders could very well still draft Manti Teo, but it won't be at the number three spot.
Before the news about his fake dead girlfriend and even before he fell flat on his face in the National Championship game, there was a lot of talk about whether the Raiders might replace their first round bust, Rolando McClain, with the stud from Notre Dame. Then began Teo's epic fall from grace.
First it was his performance in the biggest game of his career, then we learn his dead girlfriend was actually never alive. Now, it's the combine bringing him down yet another notch. There, Teo ran a 40 time that Tommy Kelly might be able to beat and did not impress in his team interviews. The result? Teo was tabbed as a two down backer who might have off of the field issues.
Just like that, Teo has gone from a top ten pick to a guy projected to go late in the first or early in the second round. Since then, Teo has said that he will run a better 40 time at his pro day, but he has also said some things that cause concern. Primarily, he claimed he had been running a 4.5 while training for the combine. That was clearly a lie. Maybe he was running faster during his training, but I doubt he's ever run a 4.5 40 yard dash.
Everyone knew Teo was lacking in the speed department, but no one expected him to run one of the worst times for a linebacker. Now, Teo's stock could easily go either way. With a great pro day, he could solidify himself as a first round pick. But if he struggles in his pro day and cannot convince people that he is mentally stable, he could fall pretty deep in the draft.
That begs the question, when would taking Teo be a wise move for the Raiders. The Raiders do not currently have a second round pick, so it would take a drop to the third round for the Raiders to get him if they do not trade for more picks before then.
If Teo were to drop to the third round, I believe the Raiders should take him.
Now, clearly that's a big if, and if it does happen, it likely means his pro day did not go well and/or more bad news about his character came out. I'd still take him.
So far, his off the field issues appear to stem from nothing more than stupidity. There has been no talk of JaMarcus Russell syndrome. From all appearances, Teo actually likes playing football and was a hard worker off of the field. He also has not succumbed to Rolando McClain-itis since he has not had any run ins with the law. So while his mentality is a concern, in the third round, it's not a concern that scares me away when the Raiders have such a big need.
As for his lack of speed, that will clearly make him a two down backer. Not ideal, but not a deal breaker in the third round. The Raiders have two good linebackers in Philip Wheeler and Miles Burris who can handle third down responsibilities. Plus, the lack of athleticism shows that Teo was able to succeed primarily on instincts and football smarts. Those are two qualities you just cannot teach.
It hasn't happened yet, but if Teo continues his precipitous fall, he might just fall right back into the Raiders draft picture.