Just my 2 cents about each MLB rumored to go around our 1st round picks. I'll rank them here:
1. Manti Te'o - I know a lot of people will disagree with this, and that's fine. I don't remember where I read it, but somewhere on this board I think someone put it perfectly... Te'o was an extremely over-hyped player in college, ridiculously over-hyped. From the Heisman nomination to being ranked in the top 5 in a lot of mock drafts, to even being rumored to go #1 overall at one point I remember. All of this was way overkill and it all suddenly crashed around the BCS Championship game and fake girlfriend scandal. And all of a sudden people began to realize that the hype was far too much for him, and as people really started to analyze and criticize his game, they realized where his value really should have been all along, which is the 2nd half of the 1st round. But all the over-hyping, followed by such negative attention and what was a pedestrian combine, people have really started to over analyze him, becoming overly critical, and in actuality, he's become undervalued as a result of it.
So here's my honest evaluation of him. First of all, I'd like to address the prevailing belief that he's a liability in coverage. This is not true, and I laugh every time I see a comparison to Jasper Brinkley. Is it true that Te'o, like Brinkley, is better in run support than pass coverage? Absolutely. But that's where the comparison ends. Just because they are both better at one aspect of the game then the other aspect, does not mean they are identical players. Brinkley is horrible in pass coverage, and while he's a solid thumper in run support, he's all around a lesser LB today than Te'o, and I truly believe that.
Te'o is not only a "thumper" or a "run-stuffer". He is a downhill LB, but he is also a 3 down LB in the NFL. His 40 time was poor, but there are reports that his 1st 20 yards were on par with a player who runs a 4.6 40. With the publicity now that surrounds the combine, people can get far too engulfed in relatively unimportant numbers like a 40 time. It's probably the most overrated "statistic" in all of football, especially in regards to certain positions, like LB. Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that Te'o is not an elite athlete at his position, he is a bit tighter in the hips and not as explosive an athlete as a guy like Ogletree. But he's more physical then Ogletree, and he's far more instinctive, and that's what separates Te'o in my mind from all the other MLBs we'll potentially be drafting. Te'o's instincts are the best in the draft and he reads plays the best as well. And that's where his coverage skills have largely improved to the point where he was able to get 7 INTs in his senior year. He makes up for a lack of fluidity in his hips with knowledge and instincts. He knows where he needs to be on the field and he has a feel for adjusting to the play to put himself in around the ball.
As for the BCS Championship game, I think what get's underlooked is how much Notre Dame's defensive line was overmatched in that game. Te'o had a bad game, but his defensive line was dominated and allowed those dominant Alabama olineman to get to Te'o.
Anyways, I think out of all the MLBs, I feel the most comfortable with Te'o. I think what he brings in intangibles, leadership, football knowledge and instincts far out weighs the athleticism that the other LBs bring. I think Te'o is the best football player of the bunch, but is getting overlooked because he's not the best athlete.
2. Arthur Brown - This a fast riser, so I've tried to find all the video of him as I can, and I have to admit, he's very impressive. He's undersized, or at least he was in game shape. Since then he's put on weight, he's right around 240 which isn't bad for a MLB. But he was listed in the 220s in college and he certainly looked it. But he's an explosive player, he's all over the field. I haven't seen quite enough of him to anoint him ahead of Te'o yet, but we ended up passing on Te'o and taking Brown instead, I would not be disappointed, because this kid appears to be very impressive, and could be something special.
3. Kevin Minter - Similar to Te'o, better in run support than pass coverage. A downhill LB, solid in his reads and his instincts. Solid tackler, is good and shedding blocks and getting to the ball carrier. Really, there's a lot of similarities between Te'o and Minter's games. The thing that separates them to me though is that Te'o has more of a knack for game changing plays, and his on field leadership and presence is felt more than Minter. I have no problems with drafting Minter, he'll end up being a solid starting LB in the NFL. But I'd prefer them to trade down and grab him if they target him, and I'd be disappointed if we picked him over Te'o or Brown.
4. Alec Ogletree - I really don't want anything to do with Ogletree. He is a boom or bust type of player. His talent is undeniable, he's the best athlete of the LB prospects and is strong in pass coverage. However, as has been mentioned, he's not nearly as physical a LB to play the Mike in our scheme. Honestly, I think if he were to go to a 4-3 team, he would be better off at WLB where he can use his range and athleticism better on the perimeter, working off the edge rather than in the middle, where I feel like he'd get washed away far too often. And then you add the off field issues into the mix, I think there's a lot of risk invovled in drafting Ogletree.