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Te'o's 40 Time Could Take Him off Bears' Draft Board

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Manti Te'o of Notre Dame works out during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Andrew DannehyCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2013

After running an official time of 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o may have run himself off the Bears' draft board.

Many, including ESPN's Todd McShay predicted the Bears would take Te'o with the 20th pick in the draft, but general manager Phil Emery's history suggests otherwise. 

In his first season as the Bears general manager, every player Emery selected ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds or faster.

While that's just one season, it proved to be true during his time as the director of college scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs. While Emery was there from 2008 to 2011, 13 of the 15 skill position players Emery drafted ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.7 seconds, according to the times on NFL Draft Scout. Only one linebacker is included in that, as Kansas City drafted Justin Houston in the third round of the 2011 draft. However, Houston weighed 270 pounds and was a linebacker in the 3-4, and would likely be a defensive end with the Bears.

Going back even further, the Atlanta Falcons drafted six linebackers while Emery was with them. Only two ran 40-yard dashes slower than 4.7 seconds as both Curtis Lofton and Robert James were taken in 2008. In Lofton's case, he ran a 4.67 at his Pro Day, greatly helping his stock.

Emery was part of the staff that selected Lance Briggs after he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds. That time hasn't stopped Briggs from having a Hall of Fame-caliber career, but he was a third-round pick. Should Te'o fall that far, Emery would almost certainly take the chance that his game speed is faster than his timed speed.

Te'o still has time to save his draft stock. If he can follow what Lofton did and knock off over a tenth of a second on Notre Dame's Pro Day on March 26, Emery may have to take notice. For the time being, however, the hype and hoopla around Te'o isn't worth taking in the first round.

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