NFL Draft Profile: Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State

Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti, despite his injury concerns, could be on the Redskins radar in the later rounds of the draft. - Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

With London Fletcher nearing retirement, Perry Riley a potential free agent and Keenan Robinson coming off an injury, the Penn State ILB could be a late-round insurance policy.

Position: Inside Linebacker
School:
Penn State
Height: 6'2", Weight: 243
Projected Round: 5

• Why he would be a good Redskin

Because London Fletcher isn’t getting any younger, Perry Riley will be a free agent next year and Keenan Robinson missed most of his rookie season with an injury. He’s also got the pedigree, since his father, Rich, once upon a time played for the Redskins — albeit briefly. As a player, Mauti is fundamentally sound, has a non-stop motor and is a punishing tackler. He’s also a film junkie who mentors his younger teammates — qualities that would serve him well as Fletcher’s eventual successor. Lastly, he’s a high-character guy, the kind Shanahan gravitates to.


• Why he won’t be drafted by the Redskins

The biggest reason he’s even being considered this late in the draft is because he suffered not one but two major knee injuries in college. If NFL success were based on actuarial tables, this guy would be considered an uninsurable risk. Mauti is smart and instinctual, which can be enough at the college level. But in the NFL, you can’t hide lack of athleticism. At some point, he’s going to be locked up one on one with a tight end, and it remains to be seen whether his creaky knees can keep up.

• Bottom Line (final comments):

Mauti comes with considerable risk, but there aren’t a lot of sure bets on the draft’s third day. It’s worth remembering that Fletcher, the guy Mauti would presumably be replacing, wasn’t draft at all and he worked out OK. Mauti isn’t a combine warrior, but on the field he makes plays by knowing where he’s supposed to be and doing what he’s supposed to do. Simply put, Mauti isn’t a shuttle-runner or a long-jumper; he’s a football player, and the Redskins could have need of someone with his skills very soon.

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