Kiper: Te'o to the Bears -- but beware Vikings
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the Bears should take Manti Te’o with the 20th overall pick in the draft later this month. But he thinks they have to be wary of the NFC North rival Vikings jumping ahead of them to steal the Notre Dame linebacker, if he is the player they have targeted.
The Vikings have the 23rd and 25th picks in the first round, and they also have a need for a middle linebacker. So, if they identify Te’o as their man, they may need to jump ahead of the Bears, as well as the Giants, who are at No. 19 and also could use a middle linebacker.
“It’ll be interesting to see if a team like Minnesota -- knowing that Chicago could have an interest (and) the Giants could have an interest at No. 19 -- tries to move up a little bit to get Te’o,” Kiper said on Wednesday morning’s national conference call. “Especially (to move) ahead of a team in their own division, with Chicago having the same need area. That could be an interesting dynamic, when you get two teams in the same division and you have the same player, Te’o, fitting both spots tremendously well.”
What makes the situation even more intriguing is that Bears G.M. Phil Emery has already said he’d be willing to trade down from No. 20 to pick up additional draft picks. The Bears are currently without a third-round pick from the trade for Brandon Marshall last year. Emery could be reluctant to trade with a division rival, unless he’s confident he can get value later in the round.
Kiper believes that Te’o’s improved 40-time at Notre Dame’s pro day solidifies his spot in the first round. After running a disappointing 4.82 in late February at the NFL Scouting Combine, Te’o clocked times in the low 4.7s at his pro day.
“He should have a very good career,” Kiper said. “Whether it’s great or not, obviously is debatable, but he’ll have a very good career.