Four More Teams, Part 3

I started this column by picking four teams whose drafts I wanted to critique, just as in the last two posts, but as I began writing, I started to include off-season moves and recent drafts for context, and I began to notice that these organizations all seem to have some systemic problems.

I try to examine why. Not surprisingly, I think in many cases it goes back to the owners. Poor owners make poor hiring decisions, either because they don’t evaluate front-office talent well or because good front-office talent doesn’t want to work with them because of the owners’ flaws, from stinginess to excessive meddling to general incompetence.

Let’s look at how the recent moves these teams made fit into a chain of bad decision-making– and, in one case, how they could be signs of an end of an era of it. This one’s a fair bit longer than the last two…

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Manti Te’o: Overrated Prospect Pre-Alabama

Manti Te’o has drawn much criticism for his imaginary girlfriend and how he handled the entire situation.  Many have claimed that Manti dropped on draft boards because of the controversy.  But, maybe there’s another explanation: he was never as good as advertised.

I watched several videos of Manti Te’o before the Alabama game even occurred, and it became quite clear to me that Manti Te’o had several glaring deficiencies in his game.

1. He guesses way too much rather than reading plays and letting them dictate his actions.  His eyes are in the backfield on nearly every play.

2. He tries too hard to make the big play.  This gets him out of position quite a bit.  It doesn’t always backfire, but when ball carriers recognize the cut back lane vacated by Te’o, it results in long runs.

3. He tends to struggle with taking on blockers.  Ideally, you want your defenders to take on “half the man,” which means that they should be keeping one of their shoulders free so they can get off blocks and make a tackle.  Te’o doesn’t do this very well.

4. His tackling form is less than ideal.  He often lunges at ball carriers rather than keeping his head up and wrapping up like he is supposed to.

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