Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com created a list of rookies that he expects to make an impact this season. Number 5 on his list is Chargers rookie middle backer Manti Te’o:
5) Manti Te’o, LB, San Diego Chargers: Te’o was one of the most scrutinized non-quarterback draft prospects I can ever remember. With a poor showing against Alabama in the BCS title game, the off-field drama of the girlfriend hoax and an uninspiring 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine, Te’o drew constant criticism from early January to late April. However, he ultimately landed in the perfect situation with the Chargers. Te’o will line up behind an underrated defensive line, and his fellow inside backer, Donald Butler, will complement his style of play. Te’o was durable (49 starts) and productive (437 career tackles) during his college career, and I expect nothing less during his rookie year.
Where is D.J. Fluker on the list? He is more important to the Chargers this season than Te’o is. If Fluker is unable to step up and lock down the right side of the line, then we could see more struggling in the passing game and the running game.
Anyway, back to the hood of things. I think Manti Te’o can make a huge impact on defense. He is in a great situation on defense. He will get the reps and will be surrounded by good players. I expect him to make plays.