Bengals linebackers coach Paul Guenther has two words for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
As the mushroom cloud hovers over Te'o's 4.8-second 40-yard dash, Guenther continues to roll his eyes over the NFL Scouting Combine. Even if the voice of the draft on NFL Network is one of his guys from his native Philadelphia.
"To me, the biggest parts of the Combine are the interviews and the medical. God bless him. Mike Mayock is one of my good friends. But this stuff gets overblown," Guenther said. "Their time in the three-cone drill? How they do in the ball drill? The leading tackler on our defense last year ran the worst 40 of the linebackers at the Combine last year. Vontaze ran 5.01. Realistically, if you lined our team up … I'm sure half the guys in our (linebacker) room run 4.8."
As for Te'o's problems with the online hoax girlfriend mess, Guenther said he handled the subject well during his 15-minute interview with the Bengals in Indianapolis.
"He did a great job; he was very forthcoming," Guenther said. "He was honest. He was upfront. He didn't try to hide behind any of it. He admitted some of his mistakes and he's moving forward. I thought he was very articulate when it came to explaining Notre Dame's defense and everybody's responsibility and how he was on the same page with the coaches.
"With that being said, all that stuff just leads you to believe you've got to do a little bit more research. Call the coaches at Notre Dame. Call his position coach. Call the coordinator. Typical background check. He's no different than all the guys that intrigue me on film. All the same background checks. He's no different than anyone else."
And Te'o is going to be no different than Burfict or any other guy in the draft. The combine is a tiny slice of the pie. The grade the Bengals ultimately give out is going to come largely from the tape evaluation of Te'o's last two seasons in college, as well as some other pieces.
"At the linebacker position, in the case of Vontaze, if you're an instinctive guy and you can see things with your eyes and you're quick laterally," Guenther said. "I think (the 40) is more important for the corners and receivers and those types of guys."