Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Mike Catapano will see his football career continue—on Sundays.
The young defensive end was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs with the first pick of the seventh round (207 overall) in the NFL draft on Saturday, April 27, making him the first Princeton University player drafted in a dozen years.
Originally considered questionable to be picked, Catapano would likely have gotten an undrafted free agent invite to an NFL camp following the draft, but the Princeton graduate had a good showing in the East-West Shrine Game and began to turn the heads of some NFL general managers.
“I can’t even put it into words what this feels like," beamed Catapano in an interview (per Reid Ferrin on KCChiefs.com). "It’s been such a long road and to be taken by such a historic franchise in Kansas City, I can’t even put it into words right now honestly, I’m on cloud nine.”
Catapano was the Ivy League leader in sacks, forced three fumbles and amassed 41 tackles in the 2012 season. While he played defensive end at Princeton, he is considered on the smaller side at 6'3" and 271 pounds.
The Chiefs plan to use Catapano as a linebacker. It's a role that Catapano says he will welcome.
“That’s such a fun position. What I do well is I pass-rush,” Catapano said regarding the change to LB (per Stephen Wood of The Daily Princetonian).
In addition to Catapano, two other Ivy League products were selected by NFL teams in this year's draft—J.C. Tretter of Cornell and Kyle Juszczyk of Harvard.