The round-one window for linebacker Manti Te’o opened. And then it closed.
We still don’t know where Te’o will start his NFL career, but we know that it won’t happen with a first-round pedigree.
When the Giants arguably reached a bit for Syracuse tackle (and PFT Live favorite) Justin Pugh, the bus rolled past the first potential stop for Te’o. When the Bears arguably reached a bit for Oregon tackle/guard Kyle Long despite a clear need at middle linebacker, the bus gained some momentum.
But then came the Vikings, who passed on Te’o not once but thrice (that word never gets used enough), opting to take defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at No. 23, cornerback Xavier Rhodes at No. 25, and trading back in to the round at No. 29 not to address an obvious need at middle linebacker but to pick another receiver for a run-heavy team with an underperforming quarterback.
The Vikings love Notre Dame players. They traded back into round one last year for Irish safety Harrison Smith. They used a second-round pick in 2012 on Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph. And G.M. Rick Spielman was in position to perform extensive due diligence on Te’o.
He presumably did. And he decided to avoid Te’o.
It got worse for Te’o when no team vaulted from round two to the bottom of round one to snatch him away from the Ravens. And that move ultimately would have been a waste of picks, because the Ravens — who Mike Mayock once said would run to the podium if Te’o were there at No. 32 — passed.
Looking ahead, it’s unclear where the floor will be. Maybe the Bengals, who supposedly were a lock at one point to take him at No. 21, will stop the slide at No. 37. Regardless, it is clear that the Vikings won’t have another crack at him any time soon, given that the package sent to the Pats for the No. 29 pick included Minnesota’s second-round selection.
At least Te’o gets to sweat the process out on the shores of Hawaii.