As I said, T'eo reminds me very much of Rey Maleuga coming out of USC. Good but not great. Alec Ogletree was much better against Alabama then T'eo and IMO I would pick him before T'eo from a performance level perspective.
No need to argue if Te'o is a top 5 or top 10 player now. We just need to know if he's worthy of being a top 17 player. I still say yes. If yesterday's performance means he drops out of the top 10 and into our laps at 17, then so be it. Our defense needs a true leader that we lost when Farrior hung up his cleats. I disagree that Te'o is merely a product of the NBC hype machine following a couple of deaths earlier this year...he was on my radar as a possibily for the 24th pick last year before he decided to return to school for his senior year. Judging a player solely by one game is like putting too much stock into the combine performances...as fans, we tend to overreact to these things, but I have faith that our scouting staff sees more of a complete picture when evaluating a player. I suspect Te'o will be placed atop the next RuthlessBurgher mock draft at #17 (after I finally finish the other mock where I suggested we trade down twice).
Rob will you please honestly answer my question about how you think Te'o would have faired if he had the Georgia defense around him versus Alabama. Better? Same? or worse?
You do bring up an interesting point though. This is the problem that the Steelers and every other team has faced for the past several years. You may see a player that has had a great year and now you have to ask yourself...
Is he that good? What if he played in the SEC? Does a really good player in <enter conference here> equal an average talent in the SEC? In the SEC, these players are challenged week in and week out against some of the best competition in all of college football. In other conferences, they may only get challenged like that a couple times a year. When the playing field is so out of balance for some teams, it's hard to evaluate these players.
The same goes in reverse. Some have said Eric Reid was exposed this year. Is he not the player we thought he was? What if he played in the Big East? Would we still be questioning his ability? Would the easier competetion hide his "alleged" weakness? Obviously, to some degree, that is a yes.
Some bring up that Te'o is the next Malaluga type from USC and now others are comparing him to Ryans. What if, just what if, he's the next Ray Lewis type? Like ruthless says, he is a great team leader... Hell, I'd be happy with a young Farrior type and lets not forget he was 1st round pick too.
Both teams got absolutely crushed by that Alabama O-line. Alec Ogletree struggled some, but made a lot of big plays against Alabama.
Te'o is absolutely a first round draft pick. Hell, he would even be a pick to consider outside the top ten for the Steelers. Doesn't make him a top ten pick.
Calling someone "Demeco Ryans" is not an insult by the way.
However, Demeco Ryans just illustrates my point that you can get plenty of pro bowl talent at ILB in the second round. ;)