After a tumultuous winter, Manti Te’o will still definitely be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, according to ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.
Kiper told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun that there’s “no way” Te’o falls to the Ravens at pick No. 32, the final pick in the first round.
In his latest mock draft, Kiper has Te’o going 20th overall to the Bears, writing, “Put all the drama, the combine 40 time and all the surrounding hoopla aside, and what you get in Te’o is a good football player.”
Te’o’s draft stock was tumbling just a few weeks ago.
He got mauled in the National Championship game against Alabama. The dead girlfriend hoax story later that month brought up all sorts of character questions. And he ran a slow 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
But at his Notre Dame Pro Day — where he again worked out for scouts — he ran a faster 40 and everyone stopped panicking about his speed. An ESPN commentator even said the 0.1-seconds faster 40 time saved his stock from falling two entire rounds.
So he’s back on track.
Kiper isn’t alone in his prediction for Te’o, his ESPN colleague Todd McShay has him going 25th overall to the Vikings.
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