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Double-Dip: Vikings Add Second Penn State LB With Michael Mauti

Posted Apr 27, 2013

PHOTO GALLERY: New Vikings LB Michael Mauti >>

OVERVIEW
Michael Mauti is the third member of his family to play at Penn State, though his father, Rich (1975-76), and brother, Patrick (2005-09) played wide receiver for Joe Paterno. Rich played seven seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins (totaling 21 catches for 314 yards and two touchdowns and averaging 8.1 yards per punt return, 22.8 on kickoffs), and Michael could very well have a solid NFL career, as well -– if he can stay healthy.

He started the first four games of the 2011 season before a torn left ACL put him on the sideline; he finished with 21 tackles, three for loss and three pass breakups in just over three games of work. Big things were expected from him coming into the year, as he impressed while playing as a sophomore (66 tackles, 5.5 for loss, two sacks). But not only did he miss games due to a sprained ankle and bad shoulder that season, but he was coming off a preseason torn right ACL that cost him his 2009 campaign. Coaches were high on his potential before that injury, as he had graduated from his Louisiana high school a semester early to take part in 2008 spring practices and played in every game the following season (26 tackles, one for loss). Mauti was putting together an extremely impressive Senior campaign (96 tackles, four for loss, 2.5 sacks, and three interceptions), but once again, could not make it through his final season, as he suffered a knee injury late in the season vs. Indiana. After realizing that he would not be able to play in his final game for Penn State, Mauti sent a letter to all 32 NFL GMs expressing his love for the game of football.

STRENGTHS Tremendously instinctual player who is poised in both the run and pass game. Thick build throughout, which helps him stand his ground against lineman blocks inside. Rips off those attempts, keeping his shoulders square to the line and his feet moving until finding his way through trash to get to the ballcarrier. Occasionally bursts through the line with some quickness to bring down backs before they get started. Secure tackler who drops his hips and shows agility to break down and corral backs trying to elude him. Recovers quite quickly from cut blocks, getting up fast to get back into the play. Aware defender in coverage, dropping deep when needed, finding his man in zone and looking agile enough to come off a crosser to stick to the next receiver through. Keeps one eye in the backfield to ensure he knows when the ball is away. Possesses strong leadership qualities; after his injury in 2011, spent his time coaching up the younger defensive players.

WEAKNESSES Lacks exceptional straight-line speed; hustles to reach either sideline or quarterbacks on bootlegs but will need help to track them down at the next level. Doesn't have the explosive element to his game that you'd like out of an outside linebacker. Some NFL-caliber running backs will set him up in the open field and cut past him. His injury history is extensive, and is sure to scare a lot of teams.

BOTTOM LINE The third Mauti to play at Penn State, Michael is an extremely intuitive and instinctual player. He's far from a remarkable athlete, but he is coordinated in changing direction, and is fundamentally sound in taking on blocks and making tackles. Versatile enough to play multiple linebacker spots. Tough and physical, but his injury history is a major worry. His medical exams are going to be crucial to his draft stock.

Bio from NFL.com