The Chicago Bears are loaded with deep linebacker talent, and they run a similar defensive scheme as the defense employed by the LA Rams. So no shopping trip for linebackers is complete until the Rams consider veteran linebacker Manti Te’o, from the Chicago Bears practice squad. Te’o is in his eighth NFL season, having started 48 games while playing in 62 games.
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Te’o originally was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2013 NFL draft with the 38th overall pick. The second-rounder has only seen action in 16 games once in his career, a 2017 season where he started ten games for the New Orleans Saints.
Good enough is good enough
Te’o has been platooned virtually his entire career. While he was a three-down backer in 2015 while playing with the Chargers, most of the time he was part of a rotation or a spot role player on defense. Despite his role on the Bears practice squad, he was very good as recently as 2018 when he earned an 80.4 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 241-pounds, Te’o is an ideal size for the Rams defensive role. He’s big enough to play the run and svelte enough to stay close to running backs on short pass routes. In 2018, Te’o only allowed a 54.5 percent completion rate. He has two interceptions and deflected 13 passes. Te’o isn’t some diamond-in-the-rough linebacker. But he is certainly worth a flyer low-risk contract to help the Rams solidify their shallow linebacker depth.