Let's use today's 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to touch on a player who I have not seen connected officially to the New York Giants, but who I have seen some of you pine for in your comments and personal mock draft. Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti is a player whose draft, and NFL future, are clouded by three ACL tears. Mauti has torn the ACL in the right knee once, and in the left knee twice, including last November.
His talent. Scouting reports refer to the 6-foot-2, 243-pound Mauti as having sideline-to-sideline range, good instincts, solid tackling ability, toughness, leadership skills and coverage ability.
Here is Russ Lande of the National Football Post assessing Mauti's draft stock:
If I gave Mauti a grade strictly for his on field play, I would likely give him a late first / high second round grade because he is truly an outsanding linebacker when healthy. Amazingly, before being injured in 2012, Mauti displayed the quickness, agility, flexibility and top speed that you would never expect for a player who had torn the ACL in each knee. While many college inside linebackers excel playing the run between the tackles, Mauti is different because he has sideline range versus the run and is excellent playing off the ball in coverage. Overall, because of the injuries I do not expect Mauti will be drafted before the late rounds of the Draft, but if he proves he is able to stay healthy (Which is a long shot as most players who struggle with injuries in college usually struggle to stay healthy in the NFL) he has what it takes to be a high end starting linebacker in the NFL.
Those knee injuries. He tore the right ACL in 2009, the left one in 2011 and suffered a season-ending knee injury late last season. What the injuries have taken from him, and the fact that he enters the league as damaged goods, will give teams pause. "Just a great football player, said Mel Kiper of ESPN. "he played like a first (or) second-round guy. The injury, it's a significant injury, it clouds his draft position.''
Does He Fit With The Giants?
I don't see why not. The knee injuries make him a risky pick, but the last couple of rounds of the draft are all about finding hidden gems or taking chances and hoping to get a reward. Mauti might be that type of player.
Here is another video showing Mauti's rehab.
If the Giants aren't able to add at least one lmpact linebacker early in the draft maybe a player with the kind of upside analysts see in Mauti is worth the risk. If teams are willing to take a mid-round flier on South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, which they apparently are, why not take a late-round flier on a player like this? Without doubt the Giants are still in need of impact linebackers.