Te'o's 'girlfiend' may hurt draft stock

Whether she exists or not, Manti Te'o's girlfriend might cause a host of issues in advance of April's NFL draft. With the Heisman Trophy finalist expected to fly off the draft board as a top ten pick, NFL front offices across the league might reconsider and decide to steer clear of the talented but troubled middle linebacker.

The buzz and controversy surrounding Manti Te'o is simply unprecedented. Sure, we've seen sports stories take on a new meaning and captivate audiences throughout the world but nothing has the sensationalism and momentum that this fiasco does.

The burning question for NFL fans is whether his draft stock will take a plunge or not.

For New York Jets fans, Te'o's status will impact what the Jets will do with their first round pick.

The Jets immediate roster changes depend on who the next GM will be, which could be coming to a close as soon as Friday.

Draft choices are incredibly valuable in the NFL so each GM approaches the draft in their own unique way. I think the Jets are going to make some serious changes this offseason so I would foresee them looking to attempt to draft the best available player. Do they think Te'o could be a steal at No. 9?

I highly doubt that.

Te'o might have a promising future but not many middle linebackers get drafted in the top ten so I'm going to say the Jets pass on him.

The Jets passing on Te'o segues into the issue whether or not he will drop on team's draft board?

No question his value will be negatively affected.

The Jets are fresh off back-to-back seasons in which character issues and players' egos took a front seat to the team's success. Adding to the media circus in New York with a player that was involved in this type of scandal doesn't seem like something that a smart GM would take a risk on. I can't imagine the Jets taking this risk and I'd imagine several teams will pass up on the talented but controversial Heisman Trophy finalist.

We've never seen anything close to this bizarre situation, so even though Te'o is a player full of intangibles, his stock will likely dip due to questions about his integrity. Not every team feels this way. The Dallas Cowboys weren't afraid to draft Dez Bryant, the Bengals drafted Vontaze Burfict, and the Jaguars traded up for Justin Blackmon.

When it's all said and done, Te'o will likely fall into the mid-to-late first round but I can't imagine him falling out of the first round because of his fake girlfriend fiasco.

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