Should the Packers take a chance on Te’o?
After a subpar 40 yard dash time and teams still questioning Manti Te’o's “catfish” scandal, one of the teams reportedly interested in Te’o are the Green Bay Packers.
Now any football fan knows the old saying about defenses winning championships and that was ultimately the Packers downfall in the divisional championship against the San Francisco 49ers.
With that in mind, the Packers have a few different positions they have needs for on defense. Defensive line needs are the forerunner after having almost no run containment especially against the 49ers read option, or better yet giving up 200 yards to Adrian Peterson twice on his quest for the single season rushing yardage record.
The safety position is also a good candidate after the embarrassing interception/touchdown against the Seahawks, and after the departure of veteran Charles Woodson.
Last but not least the linebacker position. Now with an injured Clay Matthews and Desmond Bishop, one could have expected the fall out in this position. Now with Matthews back and healthy, and the return of Bishop for this coming season, one needs to ask do the Packers even truly need another linebacker on the depth chart?
To me that answer is 100% no. Alas I am not an NFL GM, so the unpredictability of Ted Thompson is bound to be in full force this offseason.
One quick and painless option the Packers have is to resign the replacement to Desmond Bishop, Brad Jones, and either return him to backup or allow them to battle for the starting spot during training camp and pre-season. Let’s keep in mind that Jones’ 2012 season was not as impressive as Bishop’s 2011 season, but for the right price keeping a trained NFL linebacker on the depth chart behind Bishop would not be a terrible option.
Onto a second option that is sure to almost be an impossibility knowing Thompson’s patterns, and the need the Ravens will have at linebacker is the possibility of signing Dannell Ellerbe. Being a standout fill in during Ray Lewis’ triceps injury, could Ellerbe be a better candidate for a starting position? Now let’s keep two things in mind, the Ravens will be needing a starting linebacker with Ray Lewis’ retirement, and would the Packers’ salary cap be reasonable enough to accommodate the price tag Ellerbe would bring? With Ellerbe being the only standout linebacker, mixed with the Ravens’ need, I do not really see this free agency move as a possibility.
Lastly the reason of this entire article, the draft. Let’s refer back to the initial paragraph where I listed some other areas of need by the Packers, and come to the realization that giving up a first round pick on Te’o is highly illogical. Now if the Packers wish to pursue a linebacker further into the draft there are two great options within the second round and possibly the third. The early option would be Kevin Minter from LSU. With a 2012 season that would put existing Packer linebacker’s season to shame, Minter would be a great fit in the Bishop/Jones slot. Now my favorite, and almost guaranteed to be there where the Packers will need him to be, Kevin Reddick of the Tar Heels. A strong blitzer, mixed with the ability to go up and bat down the ball, Reddick would be a great cost-effective solution. Being projected to go somewhere within the second and third round, this pick would allow the Packers to focus that first round pick to an area of greater need.
Now I’m not doubting the Packers met with Te’o but let’s be realistic here, how many players actually go to one of the first few teams they meet with? Regardless, Te’o will be a sound pick to some team within the league that is gutsy enough to pull the trigger on him within the first round, but the chances of him in Green Bay should realistically be slim to none.