Mant Te’o is a bloodhound behind the line of scrimmage. He package of intangibles has glimpsed shades of early London Fletcher. His coverage ability, on the other hand, is a lot more Vince Wilfork-esque – as in there is none.
Antonio Gates is planning to remedy that. And Te’o is learning firsthand that players in the NFL are really, really good.
There is Notre Dame, and there is Antonio Gates U.
… “It’s very difficult,” Te’o said of his time covering Gates in practice. “With Antonio Gates, not only does he run crisp routes, he changes it up on you. He changes his get-offs. He changes the way he comes out of his breaks.”
… “Everything is about technique,” he said. “The speed, there are guys that are faster (here). But for the most part, speed isn’t the biggest difference. It’s how everybody’s just technically sound. For young guys, you’ve just got to learn. You can’t just run off blocks. You can’t just run through a hole. It’s those guys that are great at this game that have mastered those little things.”
With Te’o's God-given talent and time to learn under Antonio Gates and the new regime in San Diego. He’s truly in the perfect position to learn the game under minimal pressure and on a roster that hosts a bevy of veteran talent.
I’d still wait a little while before you pick the Chargers defense in the seventh round of your fantasy draft though. You know, just to be conservative.