Mike Catapano to Kansas City: How Does Defensive End Fit with Chiefs?

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystApril 27, 2013

Photo Courtesy of GoPrincetonTigers.com
Photo Courtesy of GoPrincetonTigers.com

The 2013 NFL draft is in the books, at least where the Kansas City Chiefs are concerned.

In the seventh round, with the 207th overall pick, the Chiefs selected Princeton defensive end Mike Catapano, who reigned supreme among the smart kids, taking home the 2012 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Catapano racked up 41 tackles, 12 sacks and three forced fumbles for the Tigers a year ago, and as Tony Pauline of Draft Insider pointed out it was a strong showing at Princeton's pro day that helped get Catapano onto the radar of NFL teams.

The pick met with fairly favorable reviews, including from Bleacher Report's own Dan Hope.

Catapano's measurables and production are indicative of more than a fair amount of talent, and Catapano is a "lunch pail" player who is going to give his all in practices and on the playing field.

This is also a pick that fills an area of need, at least after a fashion. Tyson Jackson has been the football equivalent of that scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker sets a huge pile of money on fire, and while free-agent pickup Mike Devito is a decent pro, J.J. Watt he ain't.

Of course, Mike Catapano isn't J.J. Watt either. There's a huge jump in the level of competition between the Ivy League and the NFL. If we were talking about Catapano beating NFL offensive lineman at Jeopardy then he'd probably be set, but he has to get past them on a football field.

For that reason it's not realistic to expect Catapano to make much of an impact, if any, in 2013. This is very much a developmental pick, and at best Catapano will see only a smattering of rotational snaps as a rookie while he makes the adjustment to the National Football League.

That's not to say it's a "bad" pick. The vast majority of seventh rounders are either projects are situational contributors, and while Catapano is most certainly the former with any luck he's talented enough to be more than the latter.

I gave this pick a "C+" to close out my Kansas City draft tracker here at Bleacher Report. That grade isn't so much a reflection on Catapano as it is the talent that remained on the board at the time, and the Ivy League talent has enough upside for Chiefs fans to be optimistic about his future.