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Manti Te'o's slow 40-yard dash does not alarm NFL GMs

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o finished a disappointing 20th out of 26 linebackers in the NFL Scouting Combine's 40-yard dash with a time of 4.82 seconds.

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Four NFL general managers assure the Chicago Tribune, however, that the relatively slow time is not alarming for an inside linebacker.

As with all prospects, college game film takes precedence over combine drills. "If a middle linebacker runs a 4.82 but he is instinctive and quick in a short area, the 40-yard dash time doesn't matter," one AFC general manager said. "At that position what matters is they are productive and make plays."

One scout told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Tuesday that Te'o's 40 time was not enough to make him re-do his film work on the linebacker.

New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese suggested teams might start talking themselves out of a good football player if they put too much stock in Te'o's combine performance and "Catfish" soap opera at the expense of his Fighting Irish tape. "We try not to do that," Reese said. "We don't put our head in the sand, but we don't overanalyze the information we get either."

Fastest 40-yard dashes at NFL Scouting Combine since 2002
Player
Pos.
School
Year
Time
RB
East Carolina
2008
4.24
Marquise Goodwin
WR
Texas
2013
4.27
Demarcus Van Dyke
CB
Miami (Fla.)
2011
4.28
WR
Clemson
2010
4.28
D. Rodgers-Cromartie
CB
Tennessee State
2008
4.29

Even if Te'o is given the benefit of the doubt on instincts and short-area quickness, it's fair to wonder if questionable athleticism will push him into the second round.

Whereas last year's No. 9 overall pick Luke Kuechly blazed a 4.58 40-yard dash, James Laurinaitis and Rey Maualuga dropped out of the first round after clocking in just under 4.80 in 2009. If teams conclude that Te'o can't play all three downs, he's likely to fall in line with the latter two.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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