Manti Te'o was more comfortable at home. That's what an improved 40-yard dash time suggests, as does his revelation Tuesday after Notre Dame's pro day that he will pass on an invitation to attend the draft in New York and watch the event privately with family. Te'o, one of several Notre Dame prospects working out for NFL scouts Tuesday in South Bend, Ind., Tuesday, made good on his promise to improve his poor workout numbers at the Scouting Combine last month. Te'o ran his two 40-yard dashes in the 4.70-4.75 range, shaving one-tenth of a second off of his pedestrian 4.81 clocking in Indianapolis. One of the most scrutinized players in the 2013 NFL Draft class, Te'o was considered a first-round pick in 2011 as a junior. He opted to return to school and was an All-American for the Fighting Irish, who went undefeated to reach the BCS national championship game against Alabama. Te'o's poor performance in that game, coupled with the international news story of Te'o being tricked into falling for a girl who didn't exist, put him under the microscope with media and virtually everyone with an opinion. Speed remains a concern for scouts, who also need to be confident Te'o will hold up to any potential for harsh treatment from teammates and the emotional toll of being in the spotlight -- for many reasons -- as a professional. NFLDraftScout.com projects Te'o as a top-40 pick. Teams in the first round with the most glaring need are Chicago (20th overall) and Baltimore (32nd). The Bears signed veteran D.J. Williams as a possible replacement for Brian Urlacher, but Williams would be considered a stopgap at best. The Ravens' need arises upon losing Ray Lewis (retirement) and Dannell Ellerbe (free agent) from their Super Bowl-winning defense. Timed speed isn't the only indicator of NFL greatness, though Urlacher (4.5 at 6-4, 260) and Patrick Willis (4.38) are examples of great players who had excellent speed. Both inside linebackers were top-15 draft picks. Te'o could be a first-round pick but is far from a lock. Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis, a second-round pick out of Ohio State, ran a 4.82 40 at the Scouting Combine. Vontaze Burfict, a starter for the Bengals last season after running a 5.1 in Indianapolis and going undrafted, are examples of production and instincts being more important measures than straight-line speed in short and T-shirts.
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