NCAA Linebackers Flock to South Side, Wexell’s Work on Mauti Reminds of Greg Lloyd

NCAA linebackers are officially in vogue on the South Side of Pittsburgh. As of Wednesday April 4th the Pittsburgh Steelers had exhausted 10 of their allotted 30 visits from collegiate prospects college visits in advance of the 2013 NFL Draft.

  • And thus far linebackers have comprised 70% of the college football players that the Steelers have entertained.

This 70% might be an April batting average, but if it is it’s a late April batting average, although as Dale Lolley indicates, the Steelers are know for their pre draft subterfuge and postulates that the high number of linebackers being vetted suggests that the Steelers are thinking “Anything but linebacker” in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Jim Wexell, free lance journalist, author, and publisher of the Steel City Insider, wrote a compelling piece about Michael Mauti, comparing him to other great Penn State linebackers such as former Steeler and NFL Hall of Famer Jack Ham.

Wexell’s article discusses the hurdles that Mauti faces because of the three ACL surgeries he has undergone in his NFL career. While multiple ACL surgeries would and should be regarded as a liability for any NFL prospect, in reading Wexell’s article, I could not but help think of Greg Lloyd.

Most fans remember that the end of Greg Lloyd’s career was barred by patella injuries, followed by a severe sprained ankle and then a staph infection. This is all true. But what many fans forget is that injuries also plagued the beginning of Lloyd’s, leading Jerry Olsavsky to observe once that Greg Lloyd had played most of his career with his knees “stapled together.”

The Steelers should not get sentimental should Michale Mauti be available in mid or late rounds, but the franchise does have a precedent for successful linebackers who began their careers with ACL issues.

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