Nov 17, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Michael Mauti (42) makes a tackle on Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Duwyce Wilson (81) during the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Indiana 45-22. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Mauti May be Worth the Risk for Steelers

Michael Mauti has drive and passion along with talent which makes him an attractive option to help fill holes on the Steelers defense.  However, he also has an ACL injury history.  That is probably enough to concern any team when they weigh whether they should draft him.  However, there is enough upside that the risk is worth it if they take him as a later round pick.


The draft summary calls Mauti a “tremendously instinctual player.”  However, scouts are concerned about Mauti’s lack of straight-line speed and explosiveness.  During 2012, Mauti is credited with 95 tackles (48 solo) and 2.5 sacks in 11 games.  While instincts can’t explicitly make up for lack of speed, the anticipation about where he needs to make a play is still valuable.


Michael Mauti is one of the names that comes up when you talk about the Penn State players who got together to urge the current players to stick together.  Amid some horrific information about events that happened in and around State College, Mauti lobbied, along with several other seniors, for players to stay and stick together.  No one would have blamed Mauti for wanting to go somewhere else, but he visualized something beyond the turmoil.  While you can debate whether or not Penn State’s administrators were too focused on football to do the right thing, you cannot blame the current players who have nothing to do with the situation.  Mauti was among those who wanted to play for something bigger than themselves.  When you can inspire others to take a hard route instead of a potentially easier path, you have a gift.  After Mauti’s injury, the players put his number on their helmets as a way to honor him for what he meant to the team.  It’s notable that he continued to encourage and lead the team from the sidelines too.  It’s hard to quantify this kind of quality and it is not something everyone has.  I think it is the huge upside to Mauti.

Should Mauti be a high draft pick?  No, his injury history really complicates the picture.  However, I think the Steelers have more access to find out about his injury and the extent of his latest surgery.  According to Audrey Snyder, Mauti’s surgeon was James Bradley (brother of Tom Bradley, the PSU interim head coach) who is also Steeler’s physician and orthopedic surgeon.  Who better to assess Mauti’s health status?  I haven’t seen anything else after Mauti’s mid-week visit to the Steelers and there probably won’t be any other indications until the draft.

The Steelers have so many holes to fill.  I’ve said it enough times to feel like a broken record.  I think that Mauti can offer a lot to the Steelers if he stays healthy.  Also, the rookie pay scale doesn’t put a huge drain on the team’s salary situation, so the risk is lower even if Mauti’s health becomes an issue.  I think his college play shows he deserves a shot and I’d like to see it work out with the Steelers.

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  • Dom DiTolla

    First of all, solid article Lori.

    If he was healthy, the former Nittany Lion would be a solid fit at the “Buck/Strongside” inside linebacker position and a 3rd-4th round investment with the type of athletic ability, tenacity, and instincts for the position he possesses.

    But Pittsburgh cannot afford to gamble away a draft pick on a player who has sustained THREE ACL tears over the last four years (2 left, 1 right).
    While the Steelers are desperate for ILB-help, Mauti in my opinion is worth a UDFA contract and nothing more because of his injury history. Plus, the rebuilding/retooling franchise would be better served to spend their draft picks on players (even in Rounds 6-7) without laundry lists of knee issues.

    I hope that Colbert & Co. can be patient and wait to make a move for Mauti after the Draft, because a UDFA deal would be a “low-risk/high-reward” scenario for both parties involved.

  • Lori P.

    Dom, Thanks for adding to this. You are right, the ACL tears just make you wonder how much more his body can handle and it is a risk. I can definitely see the UFDA point. I wonder if any other teams are interested in him and what other visits he made. I couldn’t find that, but am going to look again. I rarely get so caught up in a personality trait, but watched a few PSU games and before I knew it, I was paying attention to him on and off the field.

  • Adam Banig

    Definitely worth a 6th or 7th round pick. With the u fortunate news about Sean Spence and his recovery, the steelers should take 2 Ilbs in this draft IMO. I’d take one within the first 4 rounds to be the key reserve behind Foote and Timmons, then I’d come back and take Matui in the 6th or 7th round to be the last ilb on the roster and to develop for the future.