May 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Catapano (53) and defensive end Tamba Hali (91) walk back to the huddle during organized team activities at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ivy League Magic – The Catapano Prophecies


Every year for me there is a long shot player on our team that I just have a feeling about. A player that to most fans would be an after thought. For the most part, I’ve been burned. A few years ago that player for me was Brad Cottam and he actually started his career off well. He had the hands and the size that had me convinced that we had finally found Tony Gonzalez’s replacement. For awhile, it seemed as if my prophecy would be fulfilled and all would have to bask in the glory that is Jeff Grasser. I was wrong. Cottam’s career was derailed by a spine injury from which he would never recover and to this day, we have yet to find our tight end of the future. However, something tells me this time it will be different.

 This year, the player that gives me that oh so familiar feeling is Mike Catapano. I hadn’t heard of Catapano before the draft. After the draft was completed and I was researching all of our picks, I was surprised to come to the conclusion that my very favorite pick was the very last pick. It’s rather uncommon these days for an Ivy League player to make the leap to the NFL. It’s even more uncommon for said player to stick on a team and produce, but if you’ve watched Mike Catapano’s college tape, it’s no surprise that a team was able to find room for him. He has a swim move that would make Michael Phelps jealous. Lucky for us, the team that was willing to take that chance was our Kansas City Chiefs.

 Catapano’s stats so far this year don’t appear to be very impressive. He has two tackles and one sack, although personally I think he should have one and a half but he wasn’t credited for an assist in Jacksonville. These stats don’t jump off the page but you have to keep in mind that he’s not a starter. He only gets a handful of snaps per game and he’s made the most of all of them. He’s had hurries, he’s had one sack, and he’s had two tackles. Maybe he’s a slow starter. Maybe he’s a late bloomer. Call it what you want. I’m hanging my hat on this kid. I believe he will continue to develop and maybe not this year, maybe not next year, but soon, I believe he will be a dominant starter.

 I could back up this proclamation with stats and tape but as I said previously, this is a gut feeling call. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again but I can never be right if I keep these things to myself. Besides, who doesn’t like to be right?

 Do you agree? Do you think I’m crazy? Let me know in the comments section below and when next year rolls around, don’t forget to either remind me of my terrible prognostication or carry me through the streets on your shoulders for my incredible borderline psychic abilities. I prefer the latter.

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Tags: John Dorsey Kansas City Chiefs Mike Catapano

  • berttheclock

    You are absolutely correct about that assist against the Jags which, for whatever reason, was not credited. What made it so interesting to me was I had watched Joeckel set up. Houston cut inside and Catapano looped around. Joeckel started to go for Houston, but, he was too late, so, he drifted towards Catapano, but, Catapano was past him. Houston hit Gabbert with Catapano coming in over his shoulder. Now, Fisher has taken his knocks, but, Joeckel on that play looked as though he was still back at Texas A&M.

    • Jeff Grasser Jr

      I knew I wasn’t the only one who saw that

  • BWrangler

    I, too, expressed my optimism about this kid when I got to looking at his college tape right after the draft. When the cut days were coming around, he was one on the bubble that I was rooting for, hoping the Chiefs would find a way to keep him on the roster. He’s got a chip on his shoulder to prove that a guy from Princeton belongs in the NFL.

    • berttheclock

      Funny you say that as Dick Kazmaier won the Heisman Trophy for Princeton, was drafted by the Bears, but, snubbed them and went on for a MBA instead.

      • BWrangler

        Nice old school reference! 1951 was a vintage year….

        • berttheclock

          Yes, when one considers KU went 8-2, while, Mizzou was only 3-7. There was a very strange Southern Conference made up of 17 teams (William & Mary was part of them and Oklahoma beat them up to end their season. After that, Oklahoma just had KU to beat up regularly). Plus, the University of San Francisco Dons went 9-0-0 and the good Fathers decided to go out on top and closed the football program. But, it was the year of my first car, a ’51 Chevy.

  • ladner morse

    You don’t need tape on Mr. Catapano to see that he’s a stud in the making. His presence on the roster makes me feel comfortable that if DeVito or TJack goes down there will be a player to step right in without missing a heartbeat and perhaps give a little extra pass rush to the DL in the mean time. Cat Man is more athletic than any of our DEs right now and should give Dorsey a good reason to contractually move on from whomever he chooses to move on from in any of the next two off seasons along the DL front.

    • berttheclock

      BTW, speaking of the name Dorsey, Glenn that is, did you see where he made a successful transition to nose tackle for the 3-4 system Niners?. He was moved there due to injuries to their starter. He received high kudos from several of the defensive players and looked as though he had found a new home, but, he left the game, last week, with an injury. I remember when many said he was too small to play nose.

      • Jeff Grasser Jr

        I hadnt noticed his success but I did see the injury last week…honestly, as long as we arent playing him, I root for the guy…he was a professional

      • ladner morse

        Yea… you know the old saying about a firecracker held with the fingertips does no damage to the hand but, if held inside a closed fist, can blow a hand off. I think the Chiefs never took advantage of the “firecracker” effect Glenn Dorsey could have had by playing him at nose tackle. For some reason he turns into a different, more effective, player there.

    • Jeff Grasser Jr

      Far more athletic…not as physically large so plugging holes may be harder but this isn’t Romeo’s defense anymore and that’s not quite as important in this scheme

      • Power Fitness

        Physically large in terms of fat? Hes 280 lbs with abs and strong as an ox. Havent seen anybody push Catapano around yet actually.

        • Power Fitness

          Jeff Grasser you are absolutely 100 % correct about Mike Catapano….watch what he does. He wont merely be a “good” NFL player for a 7th rounder. …hes gonna be a GREAT NFL player period…special. All Pro. Without a doubt. Wait n see ;-)

          • Jeff Grasser Jr

            Exactly why I stake my extremely credible opinion on him :) but in all seriousness, I cant wait to see him develop

  • sidibeke

    One sack. That was more than either of of top 5 picks at DE had their entire first season, I believe. The depth on this team has really kept KC playing at a high level.

  • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

    Few 7th round picks stick on the 53 man roster, so that tells us something. Give the kid time. Players can make huge leaps from year one to year two. A full NFL off season and a second training camp really helps players.

    • berttheclock

      Excellent points. Do you know we have two 7th round picks on the 53? The other is Cooper, who was the 7th round pick by the Niners.

      • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

        Good point bert. If Cooper continues to play well and develop he could be an amazing steal.

  • Howard Burden

    I was introduced to the name Mike Catapano by his cousin, BIG GEORGE. Since last year Big George has been singing the praises of Michael, It was with great joy to many that Mike was in fact Drafted by the Chiefs. He has obviously got some natural talent that will need to be fine tuned, KC’s coaching staff will bring Mike along as the oppertunities present themselves. In watching the KC games when Michael did get into the game, I have noticed a few things that are working to his advantage. He is Motivated to play well and show his ability, Being a smaller player than many of the Defensive tackles he has been matched up against, He needs to rely on Quickness and Footwork to elude blockers. He seems to get himself neutralized when he stands up and does not use leverage against the BIG BOYS. His dedication to football and his FOOTBALL SMARTS will definitely work to his advantage. GRADE C+