In what will I will attempt to make a more regular series this year, we have our first Penn State in the NFL update after the first day of the preseason schedule. Isn't football great?
- Danny Kelly, the leader of Field Gulls (Seahawks SBN site) does a lot of writing for the SBN NFL mothership, including a current series about young players who are ready to breakout in this upcoming NFL season. Yesterday, he wrote about the Vikings, and singled out Michael Mauti as a name to watch. The entire article can be found here, but here's the excerpt about Mauti...
LB Michael Mauti
Who: Mauti was a seventh-round pick by the Vikings in 2013 out of Penn State. He appeared in 14 games last year.
Where: Linebacker; he played in the middle last year and has been getting reps on the strongside in camp this season as well. The Vikings released Erin Henderson and did not bring back Marvin Mitchell, so even with veteran Chad Greenway returning, the competition is apparently on at each linebacker position, between Anthony Barr, Audie Cole, Brandon Watts, Gerald Hodges and Mauti. The Penn State product will have a chance to grab a starting job.
Why: Mauti was a legend at Penn State, but came into the NFL a little slower than the new prototype for the position and possesses a pretty huge injury risk after multiple knee injuries in college. During this offseason, he slimmed down slightly to be able to run in Mike Zimmer's fast-flowing defense, and if he can stay healthy, he could put his great instincts, awareness and savviness to good use.
How: The main thing, of course, is to stay healthy. Past avoiding injury, Mauti will help himself by showing his versatility inside and out.
Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Michael Mauti via cdn1.vox-cdn.com
- Speaking of Michael Mauti, tonight's preseason game between the MInnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders will mark the first time that Mauti and Gerald Hodges will face off with good friend and former teammate, Matt "Moxie" McGloin. While the Raiders brought in a few new options at quarterback this offseason (Matt Schaub and Derek Carr), we all know that McGloin is always ready to battle for a roster spot. His competition is a little tougher now than it was last year with Terrelle Pryor standing in his way, but that surely won't deter McGloin. Since the Raiders QB situation is far from settled, it wouldn't be surprising to see Schaub and Carr get more reps than the 1st and 2nd string quarterbacks normally would in the first preseason game. However, there should still be plenty of time for McGloin to do his thing, even if those reps do not end up coming with Mauti or Hodges on the field. The game starts at 8:00pm Eastern time, and anything you need as far as finding ways to watch the game can be found right here thanks to Silver & Black Pride (If you look down to the comments, you'll see that the Oakland fans are still pretty high on McGloin, just like we are).
- Also in action tonight will be former Penn State fullback/halfback Mike Zordich. As Jared included yesterday in his Success with Hyperlinking, Zordich is back and ready to make the team following his lost year due to injury. Zordich is currently listed as the 3rd fullback for the Carolina Panthers behind Mike Tolbert and Richie Brockel, but still has plenty of practice and preseason time to prove he belongs. Should the Panthers make the foolish decision of releasing him, he will surely be picked up by another team in no time (I know the Seahawks are still looking for a fullback following Michael Robinson's departure from the team...). The Panthers take on the Buffalo Bills tonight at 7:30PM eastern time.
- Finally, the team that is home to former Penn State stars, Allen Robinson, Paul Posluszny, and Nate Stupar, will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight. Posluszny is obviously a star, and Allen Robinson is a high pick expected to do big things, but Nate Stupar has made sure to keep his name in discussion as well. Big Cat Country currently has Stupar slated to be one of the team's six linebackers on the 53 man roster. After bouncing around a bit during his early NFL career, it's nice to see that Stupar seems to have found a home with Gus Bradley and the Jaguars. The Jags take on the Buccs tonight at 7:30PM eastern time.
- Finally, I forgot to mention Allen Robinson's injury. Allen Robinson is injured. He's going to miss a couple of weeks, so likely the whole preseason.
Jaguars Linebacker Paul Posluszny via cdn1.vox-cdn.com