In his senior season at Notre Dame, Manti Te’o intercepted seven passes. And when Chargers general manager Tom Telesco considers Te’o’s skill set, he sees a linebacker who could be someone very capable of staying on the field on passing downs at the NFL.
On a conference call with Chargers season-ticket holders on Wednesday, Telesco shed some light on what he likes about Te’o’s ability vs. the pass.
“Manti was an excellent third-down player at the college level, especially in zones, especially in his football awareness as far as knowing where routes are coming from, knowing where to pass off a route and pick up another,” Telesco said. “He has an innate sense of knowing where people are coming from, not only to take on blocks and avoid blocks but as far as pass receivers coming through his zones.
“He has the capability of being a three-down linebacker.”
However, Telesco noted that Te’o, who play inside in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme, will have to show that his pass-coverage understanding translates to the pro level if he’s to play on passing downs as a rookie.
“Third down in this league is a very complicated down,” Telesco said. “So we’ll see how it plays out. If it’s this year, it’s this year. If it’s next year, it’s next year.”