Today we use our 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at an under-the-radar defensive prospect who could be drafted much higher than people expect. This is a player I haven't seen play much so I'm going to rely on the best information I could find (two videos from draftbreakdown.com and a couple of conversations with guys who watch smaller school prospects more frequently). Hat tips especially to @billsdraft and @dpbrugler
I'm highlighting Catapano because NFL Draft Zone says Catapano has a private visit scheduled with the Giants (interview with him here), though that hasn't been reported by any of the major Giants beat reporters. NFL Draft Zone has been reliable, especially for late-round draft prospect information. Catapano visit with team also listed here
Catapano has good NFL measurables, which he showed off at his Pro Day.
He was very productive in 2012 with 15.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and 41 total tackles. Those I talked to described him as a player who has very good functional playing strength to be a good bull rusher at the next level. He also has good size and length and knows how to use his hands to keep blockers off of him. He could develop into a very good run defender because he is stout and does a good job of tracking the football and chasing the play. He's explosive off the snap compared to the other players on the field. Played both defensive tackle and defensive for Princeton.
Someone I trust with small school prospects
He is not the same kind of fluid athlete Osi Umeniyora and Jason Pierre-Paul are (though few are). He's a very good, solid NFL-caliber athlete, but not a great NFL-caliber athlete. He also played against lower level competition, which can make it harder to project whether he's as good as the top guys at major programs or just the best fish in a small pond. He doesn't have a ton of pass rushing moves.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Sure, he has good measurables and he had dominant production. The Giants have shown a willingness to take players from schools of lower-level competition, but they tend to gravitate towards the major BCS programs. Still, Catapano is right in their backyard playing at Princeton and I'm sure they have a good feel for him.
Big Board Rankings
CBS Sports-364th overall
National Football Post-Not On big Board
Mocking the Draft-20th ranked Defensive ends
Sports Illustrated-Outside of the top 40
Big Blue View Board-Not rated on my board (didn't seen him play enough)
A tough late-round prospect who has a legitimate chance of being an effective NFL player, especially as a 4-3 defensive end who can bull rush and play the run. I think from what I've seen of him and learned about him through others thathe has a shot at being a player like Jaguars' defensive end Jeremy Mincey, which wouldn't be bad at all for a mid-round to late-round pick.
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