Saturday Manti Te’o impressed the reporters at the massive press conference. But today was a day for ‘work’.
The 40 yard dash is an important benchmark for professional football, especially for a defensive player. A literal explosion of speed is mandatory to react to the offense.
When it was his turn to sprint, Te’o did not impress. The former Notre Dame linebacker clocked unofficial hand-times of 4.81 and 4.8 in his two attempts, neither of which were awful, but also failed to show the explosiveness many teams would be looking for in a first-round pick. His official electronic time (the best of the two runs) was later determined to be 4.82.
NFL Network caught the reaction of Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh after Te’o’s first run, which showed him mouthing the words “4.83” and shaking his head.
Comments by coaches and scouts revealed pros and cons. One scout discounted his times, saying that he was an inside linebacker, and speed wasn’t as important in that position. A former coach said that in his junior year Te’o weighed 255 pounds. He dropped over ten pounds by the start of his senior year to improve his pass defense. He had seven interceptions. He will need to gain those 10 pounds back for the professional game.
The overall impression was of disappointment. There are several physical tests each player must endure, the “40” is only one of them. But with a few defensive and offensive linemen who can match the times Te’o ran, or get close, it’s not a good thing.
Columnist-The Guardian Express