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Manti Te'o gets fresh start with San Diego Chargers

NEW YORK -- Manti Te'o waited and waited. Finally, he found a team that couldn't wait to draft him.

The San Diego Chargers traded up to the No. 38 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft to grab the Notre Dame linebacker on Friday night. The Chargers gave up a fourth-round pick just to move up seven spots and grab the inside linebacker.

"It's a perfect scenario....I can't be any happier," Te'o said during a conference call with reporters. "You talk about the Chargers, especially for someone here like me, you think of Junior Seau and what he did there and the legacy that he left behind, not only in San Diego but in the NFL. I'm just excited to be coached by (linebackers coach) Joe Barry and (defensive coordinator) John Pagano, and just help and do whatever it takes to help our team win."

This is the first signature move from new general manager Tom Telesco, who let a slew of aging veteran defensive players leave the team. Te'o found a team that needed inside linebacker help and a scheme that should suit his skill set. Te'o isn't a great player in coverage, so he fits best in a 3-4 defense like the one run by Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.


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It's hard to imagine a better fit all things considered. San Diego is as close to Te'o's home in Hawaii as possible. It's as forgiving and quiet a media market as there is in the NFL. Te'o will get plenty of media attention in San Diego, but this is his best chance to "blend in" with an NFL team.

The reality is that Te'o potentially is a very good NFL player, but he doesn't have explosive traits. He's a blue-collar player who got overhyped by the Notre Dame media machine, and he then got chewed up and spit out because of his insane "Catfish" story. In San Diego, things should quiet down.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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