Manti Te'o is projected to be a first-round draft pick.(Joe Raymond/AP)
Most NFL teams give former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o a first-round grade heading into next week's NFL Draft, ESPN's Chris Mortensen said Wednesday on SportsCenter (via Rotoworld).
"At least half the teams in this league have solid first-round grades on Te'o," Mortensen said. "I have heard 'undersized' a bit. (But) most teams do see that he's going to go somewhere in the first round."
Te'o was a star for Notre Dame on its run to the national championship game and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. But his draft status became a question mark after Deadspin reported in January that his "girlfriend," who had supposedly died during the season, did not exist and was actually a hoax perpetrated on Te'o.
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At the NFL Combine, media packed into Te'o's news conference, and he faced a barrage of questions over the incident. He also struggled in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, posting a time of 4.82 seconds.
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But according to Mortensen, he "aced" the interviews with teams. A month later, at Notre Dame's Pro Day, he ran 4.71 in the 40 -- not scorching, but not worrisome.
Now, Te'o looks to be a strong fit for teams like the Bears and Ravens in the bottom half of the first round. SI.com's Don Banks had the Vikings selecting Te'o with the 25th pick
in his most recent mock draft.