Once upon a time there was a warrior who went by the name of Manti. Manti was born and raised in Laie, Hawaii and interestingly enough, he went to the same high school that President Barack Obama attended; but that is irrelevant. Manti Te’o played football at Punahou High School and received more recognition for his achievements then a Noble Peace Prize recipient. Regardless if that is the most accurate analogy, Manti Te’o has been the center of attention for his position since he started tackling. Going to college at Notre Dame was no difference. Getting compared to as "the LeBron James of the Fighting Irish" during Bowl Season, Te’o was made a candidate for the Heisman Memorial Award his senior year. As you may or may not know, "The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." Winning this award as a linebacker would have marked the first time that a defensive player would ever receive this award. Although Te’o lost to quarterback Johnny Manziel, he only lost by three hundred votes. This was to be expected considering no single college football player has ever won the award for their defensive efforts. Now that his college career is in the books, it is time to start projecting his potential as a professional.
When I think of the middle linebacker position I immediately think of Chicago Bears’ future Hall of Famer, Brian Urlacher. Brian Urlacher brought an immediate impact to the Chicago Bears when he was drafted in 2000. The year before he was drafted, the Chicago Bears were ranked the 20th in total defense in the NFL. They were also one of the worst teams to defend the pass ranking 29th. Also, notable is their 23rd ranked rushing defense. After making Urlacher a part of the defense in 2000 their defense has dramatically improved. His rookie season they remained the 20th ranked defense but were ranked 17th in passing defense and 19th in rushing defense. His sophomore season the Bears were the number one ranked defense in the NFL. Since then, the Chicago has boasted the 12th best defense from 2002-2012. They have competed year in and year out for the top ten defenses in the National Football League. I believe that Manti Te’o can also bring this type of change to any team that calls his name on April 25th. Our Kansas City Chiefs rank 28th this season in total defense. Although our talent levels in each position are far better than this season shows, I believe that Manti Te’o can bring us back to being a feared defense.
This year’s NFL Draft does not excite me. Sure there are some great players this year, but so does every year. For as long as I can remember I have always dreamed of the Kansas City Chiefs drafting a franchise quarterback like Joe Flacco, or Andy Dalton, or Andrew Luck. Last year was the year to do it, the only barrier was that we did not have an early enough pick. This year marks a chance for us to draft a quarterback with one of the top picks in the NFL Draft. Will we do it? Hopefully not.
Can you even name the top three quarterbacks off the top of your head? Scott Wright of the NFLDraftCountdown.com says that the top three quarterbacks are USC’s Matt Barkley, WVU’s Geno Smith, and ARK’s Tyler Wilson. Who? Sure I know Matt Barkley, coming into the season he was projected to be a stellar quarterback but after some injury concerns is he really the guy to draft for the face of a franchise. Personally I see him as being no better than Matt Cassel, maybe even worse. If the Chiefs use their first pick on a quarterback this year I may break my TV. Well other than quarterback what position do we need? Well we can always use depth in our offensive line and our defensive line can definitely use a face lift. Well which side should we draft on? Neither; we go linebacker. I hate the idea of drafting for need, especially in the first round. That is looking so short-term. Yeah I want to win the Super Bowl next year but if that means that we struggle year in and year out after then count me out. Teams should always draft with the sole purpose of drafting the best available player. So who is the best available player? You guessed it: Manti Te’o. Sure we already have a solid linebacker corp. in Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, and Justin Houston. But with the tragic loss of Jovan Belcher the Chiefs are looking very short in depth considering we run a 3-4 defense requiring four linebackers on the field. Studebaker is a great option to fill in but he is not a starter. If you put Te’o onto this team you will see the best linebacker corp. in the National Football League. Te’o and Johnson can help previous draft pick Dontari Poe look good. Poe has the raw features of the ideal NT but is struggling with handling the cornerstone piece of a 3-4 defense. Drafting Te’o would help Poe succeed in his position while allowing outside linebackers Hali and Houston make quarterbacks cry.
Te’o reminds me of one current Kansas City Chiefs player: Eric Berry. Coming out of college Eric Berry was touted as being the most NFL ready player in the draft. The Kansas City Chiefs picked him with the fifth pick in the draft and look at him now. Te’o can be the next Eric Berry. If we draft Te’o we are drafting for our future. End of story.