ALLEN PARK — One of the Lions’ pre-draft visitors was Manti Te’o, the Notre Dame linebacker who basically needs no introduction.
But in case you were living under a rock, Te’o is the young man who said he was duped into a relationship with a woman who didn’t exist.
The Lions don’t have an opening at middle linebacker, Te’o’s position, although they are short a starting outside linebacker since they didn’t re-sign Justin Durant.
“Very smart guy, very smart football player, very personable and a great personality,’’ Mayhew said on Thursday. “That’s one of the schools I went to and when I was there, you couldn’t find anyone to say anything negative about him. He’s just a great leader in his program and a great football player for them over the years. They have so much respect for him and I do too after meeting with him.”
“He was very frank about it. He was very direct and I was very direct with him. And he said he made a mistake. And that’s just what happens,’’ Mayhew said. “I certainly came away from it feeling great about him as a person and as a player.”
Te’o is projected by most experts to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second. Mel Kiper’s mock draft 4.0 has Te’o going to the Chicago Bears with the 20th overall pick. ESPN’s Todd McShay’s latest mock draft has Te’o going to the Baltimore Ravens with the final pick in the first round (32nd overall).
NFL.com draft analysts Charles Davis, Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks have the MInnesota Vikings drafting Te’o with the 23rd overall pick.
It seems that Te’o would be a reach with the Lions’ fifth overall pick. Possibly they could trade down in the first round if they’re interested. Or another possibility is trading up from the second round (36th overall).