According to multiple reports, the Miami Dolphins brought in linebacker Manti Te’o for an official pre-draft visit today.
Te’o, who was once considered a top ten pick after leading Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season and finishing second in the Heisman race, may now slip out of the first round after missing several tackles in the BCS title game and running a 4.82 forty at the NFL Combine. Not to mention a fake dead girlfriend hoax that brought up questions about his character for the first time.
Needless to say, bringing in a household name like Te’o is going to create some headlines. I usually don’t even bother to speculate on pre-draft visits. I just think it is silly to read into them much when they rarely materialize into legitimate interest when it comes time for the NFL Draft.
But with news of Te’o visiting Miami spreading all over the internet, there are undoubtedly Dolphin fans out there (and I’ve seen them on Twitter) that are nervous Ireland is targeting the former Notre Dame star with the 12th overall selection.
I’m here to tell you to breathe easy. That is not going to happen. The Dolphins are simply doing their homework on a prospect that clearly has the ability to be a first-round pick but could slip out of the first round entirely because of an off-field issue and a poor showing in shorts at the Combine.
The Dolphins have two second-round picks and could potentially add another in the event they trade down from the twelve spot. They are just investigating a guy that would likely be the best player available if he is still around when they are on the clock in the second round.
Would they draft him even in that scenario? I highly doubt it.
Middle linebacker is far from a need after Ireland inked Dannell Ellerbe to a five-year $35-million deal last month. I would have to assume the Dolphins would be open to moving Te’o to outside linebacker to potentially upgrade Koa Misi’s spot.
But there is no point in speculating any further when Te’o being drafted by Miami is so unlikely. The point is not to read too much into this visit and not to worry about the Dolphins drafting Te’o 12th overall.