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NFL mock draft 2013: Steelers select Manti Te'o

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With the No. 17 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, SB Nation projects the Pittsburgh Steelers to select Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.

Jonathan Daniel

The Pittsburgh Steelers will attempt to return back to the playoffs in 2013, after narrowly missing the 2012 playoffs. Pittsburgh will add a slew of young players to its roster this offseason through the NFL Draft, and SB Nation projects the Steelers to take one of college football's most decorated linebackers in the first round -- Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o.

Te'o's stock slipped after the Alabama Crimson Tide ran wild over Notre Dame's defense -- the same defensive unit that carried the Irish to the title game. Still, SB Nation's Dan Kadar believes Te'o is worth a first round pick.

Fact: Manti Te'o played poorly in the BCS National Championship Game. Myth: He's a bad football player not worth a first-round pick. The likely truth about Te'o is that he's a low ceiling prospect that can step in immediately and help a defense. He may be best suited for a team like Pittsburgh which calls for Lawrence Timmons to roam at one inside linebacker spot and Larry Foote to call the defense, lead and play straight forward.

Low ceiling prospects often have high floors, so the if the Steelers do draft Te'o, Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh's coaching staff likely know what they'll be getting.

Though Te'o may not develop into a superstar linebacker in the NFL like he was in college, he still projects to be a capable starting player -- and could very well help the Steelers return to the playoffs in 2013.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.