A very wise man once wrote on Twitter, "As much as the American people value things like hard work, and cheering for the underdog, those things typically don't make up for a lack of talent at the NFL level." This tweet was referencing Jarvis Jones, the former Georgia pass rusher who was ultra-productive in college and was revered for his motor and hustle. He was selected 17th overall in the 2013 NFL draft.
He has five career sacks through three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now, how does this have anything to do with Michael Caputo? I want you to think about his time as a Badger in Madison, and just brainstorm a few of the first words that come to mind when thinking about him. Go ahead, I'll wait.
"Tough, gritty, hard worker, instinctive, playmaker" all come to mind. Sound familiar? Now, don't get me wrong -- Caputo isn't a bad football player, or untalented. That's far from the truth. The simple fact of the matter is that often times if you're known for being more of a "football player" than an "athlete" at the college level, the amount you can improve as a player is a bit limited.
Caputo will be looking to carry on the tradition of undervalued defensive backs that go on to lead productive careers in the NFL.
Michael Caputo, S
40-yard dash: 4.62
Vertical jump: 35.5"
Broad jump: 9'9"
Pro agility: 4.41
3-cone drill: 6.86
Bench press: N/A
Strengths: Highly productive, fifth-year senior. Has improved every year he's played. Chiseled frame, clearly has spent his fair share of time in the weight room. Plays a very physical style. Good tackler. Excels in limiting yards after the catch. Good sifting through traffic in run pursuit. Displayed ball skills. Ability to complete interceptions when he had opportunities.
Weaknesses: There's a reason that Dave Aranda had Caputo in the box so often. And it's not always that the front seven couldn't handle the other team's rushing attack. Caputo wasn't a liability in coverage, but it's definitely not his strength. Doesn't have a ton of experience as a two-deep safety. Rigid in the hips, struggles to trail receivers closely in coverage, usually plays with a cushion. History of concussions.
Overall: Caputo has personified what the Wisconsin football program stands for over the past few seasons, but he has a pretty limited ceiling at the next level. Caputo was a special teams ace for the Badgers, and he'll need to excel in that role in the NFL to earn his keep. He also plays with a very throwback, physical style. The question will be raised if his body can hold up to his playing style; he suffered a concussion vs Alabama in Week 1. Caputo can strive for a Chris Maragos role in the NFL, a special team extraordinaire and a fourth safety. I wouldn't be surprised if Caputo makes a 53-man roster once or twice before he finds a home.
Projection: Round 7-undrafted