#66, Norm Katnik, C
(6040, 296, 4.95-5.20) Southern California
Notes: Born July 2, 1981, in Tucson, Ariz. His father, Norman, was a two-year starter at Arizona in 1978-79. His uncle, John, also started at center for USC in 1986-87. His brother, Kurt, is a center with the Trojans now. He played both ways on the offensive and defensive lines at Foothill High School in Santa Ana, Calif. He also played baseball. He likes to play golf and considers ex-USC and NFL star Tony Boselli his role model.
College: Redshirted as a freshman in 1999, playing offensive tackle, tight end and center. Backup center in 2000, also available at guard, tackle and tight end; saw brief action in two games – one as a snapper on special teams and another at tight end. He started at four offensive line positions as a sophomore in 2001 – four games at center, four games at left guard, one game at right guard, and one game at left tackle. Had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb in the spring of 2002. Katnik started the first 11 games of his junior season (2002) at center, until a left ankle sprain limited him late in the season. His replacement was Ryan Kalil, who was a second-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in this year’s draft. Came back to see action at both center and guard in the team’s bowl game following the season. He started at center as a senior and was one of six finalists for the 2003 Rimington Award, earning first-team All-Pac 10 honors. He participated in the Hula Bowl.
Measured 6040, 296 pounds in workouts prior to the 2004 NFL Draft. Posted times of 1.79 (10-yard dash), 4.95-5.20 (40-yard dash), 4.59 (20-yard shuttle) and 7.69 (3-cone drill) in individual testing. Did 35 reps at 225 pounds. Had a 30 ½ inch vertical jump and an 8’-7” broad jump. Arms were 32 1/8” long and hands were 10”.
Pro: Originally signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2004; he was subsequently released prior to the season and did not play. He went to training camp with the 49ers again in 2005 and spent part of the season up-and-down from their practice squad and active roster, officially playing in one game. He was signed off the 49ers practice squad by the New York Jets in November 2005. He made the team with the Jets in 2006, and started 2-of-3 games in which he played, but was released in late-September and re-signed to their practice squad. He was then released from the Jets practice squad in early-November 2006, and subsequently signed by the Vikings to their practice squad two days later, where he spent the final eight games of the 2006 season.
Positives: Versatile lineman who can play just about anywhere along the offensive line (although best inside) and even as a No. 3 tight end. Shows some explosiveness at times and plays with tenacity. Good football intelligence. Above-average technician. Quick hands. Capable with blitz pickups and adjusting to stunts.
Negatives: Does not have great natural size and lacks the strong base to consistently generate movement into his blocks. Gets an initial push but cannot drive defenders off the ball and will struggle with power-type players at times.
Summary: He’s one of the most experienced of the many prospects the Vikings have in camp this summer, and, his versatility is a big plus. Katnik is a guy who’s just on the fringe of making it at the NFL level.
What they said:
“I've always had a lot of faith and was cocky about my ability. I felt I was good, but my [lack of] weight held me back. I've always been the little guy. I've never been the super big guy. People are always taller and heavier. But it all comes down to how well you know the game and how much more you know than the other guy across from you. Someone else may be a little bigger or stronger, but if I've got the edge on technique and understand my role in the play, I've got the advantage. That's what got me here and gets me on the field. It's about the right footwork and being in the right places. That usually will prevent defenders from getting to the ball. Nothing can beat a good technician.” – Katnik, on his lack of natural size
“Norm plays center, guard and tackle. It was a good lesson for everybody to see, that just because you don't start, you need to prepare as if you're going to be the starter. I thought he did a good job as a backup going in there and playing that role,” Eric Mangini, Jets coach during training camp last season.
“Indispensable because of his versatility and knowledge as a blocker, Katnik is an overachiever that uses all his assets to their fullest. Should find a home at the next level as a lineman that will add depth to any of the three interior blocking positions.” – Scout.com