As we approach closer to the 2010 Draft, with its stupid schedule (thanks to Goodell), we started thinking about our 2009 Draft. Other than one of our second round picks, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, and our first selection, center Alex Mack, we did not get much mileage out of our rookies. A couple are gone completely; running back James Davis got injured and did very little after the pre-season; wide receiver Brian Robiskie had a case of deadly nerves beginning in training camp and never really subsiding throughout the season; and linebacker David Veikune was on reserve with sparse action.
One rookie that never got the kind of credit he deserves, however, is linebacker Kaluka Maiava. For a guy that was selected in the fourth round, with lingering doubts about his size, Kaluka made an impact in his rookie season. He played in every single game for the Browns. He had 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks (for 6 lost yards) and 2 forced fumbles. And he really rose to the occasion against division rivals – he had 5 solo tackles againat the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 5, 6 solo tackles against the Baltimore Ravens in week 10, and another 3 solo tackles against Pittsburgh in week 14.
Equally important, the coaches and his defensive teammates speak highly of Maiava. He is a smart player who approaches his job in a business-like, no-nonsense manner. He plays much tougher than he appears. The competitiveness at USC prepared him well.
It is always a pleasure to land a player beyond the third round of the Draft who makes an immediate impact and who has the potential to become one of the better players at his position on the defense. Kaluka fits that bill.
As an aside, has anyone heard of an official Draft Day Party at the Stadium this year? I guess this new format where we stretch the Draft over a couple of months, including on work nights, pretty much spoils the whole affair. Thanks Roger.