2013 NFL Draft: Denver Broncos Should Have Selected Manti Te'o

Sam QuinnContributor IIIApril 26, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Manti Te'o of Notre Dame gets ready to run the 40-yard dash 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

No disrespect to Sylvester Williams, because I think he's going to be a solid player in the NFL, but he's not the guy the Denver Broncos should have taken in the first round. Who should have been the pick? Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o

No, I'm not crazy, and neither is he. He made a mistake, it happens. He's also the best inside linebacker in the entire draft. There's a reason he finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy; the guy is just an incredible football player.

Did his combine stats measure up to others in the class? No, but that doesn't surprise me. Te'o has always been a player who relied on instinct and intelligence over physical skill. Remind you of anyone? If not, you probably haven't been paying close enough attention to your quarterback, Denver fans. Because that's a pretty close description of Peyton Manning.

Keith Brooking's corpse was a huge liability for Denver last year. He simply couldn't cover tight ends, and with a playoff matchup against Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez looming, the Broncos should know that that's a big problem. 

A problem Te'o could have solved. He could have immediately stepped in and been the quarterback of Denver's defense. Sure it might have been awkward at first, but Te'o is a leader. Someone his teammates look up to and respect. Sooner or later, he'll get past the scandal he's been mired in over the past few months.

Speaking of the scandal, ask yourselves this: would we care about this if it happened to Alec Ogletree? Kevin Minter? Any other inside linebacker in this class? Any other player in this class? Except for maybe Geno Smith, no, we wouldn't. 

That's because Te'o is an exceptional player, someone who deserves all of the coverage he gets. He would have filled a huge need for Denver.

Speaking of which, I don't necessarily buy the defensive line as a huge need. Sooner or later, Dwight Freeney or John Abraham is coming on board. Derek Wolfe is already there, and Robert Ayers is good to have on running downs. With Von Miller looming on the second level, a great defensive line certainly isn't a necessity.

But an all-purpose linebacker is. Te'o would have been a great pick for the Broncos. He'll be a great pick for someone else now.