Maiava survives; Veikune does not
By Fred Guzman
Kaluka Maiava, the former Baldwin and University of Southern California standout, survived a heated competition among a crowded field of 12 linebacking candidates to retain a spot on Cleveland’s 53-man roster for Sunday’s opener at Tampa Bay.
One-time University of Hawaii defensive end David Veikune was not as fortunate. The Browns waived the former second-round draft pick because of his apparent inability to make satisfactory progress in a switch of positions.
The 6-foot-2, 257-pounder was 52nd overall pick two summers ago. But his skills didn’t translate into playing as an outside linebacker in Cleveland’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
Viekune saw most limited duty in 10 games as a rookie. When he showed little progress during training camp and exhibition games, he we was released by a team that had 12 linebackers in camp.
Also making Cleveland’s squad was rookie Shawn Lauvao, who earned the starting job at right guard. The 6-3, 315-pounder is a Farrington High alum who attended Arizona State, earning a degree in just 3.5 years. Lauvao was a third-round draft pick, chosen 92nd overall.
Maiava, a 6-foot, 229-pounder, had a solid season as a rookie last season, seeing sport duty as a linebacker and extensive action on special teams. He is listed as the undersized backup right inside linebacker in Cleveland’s 3-4 base defense.
As a rookie, Maiava finished with 45 tackers and forced two fumbles. Maiava’s most productive game came in a 16-9 loss to Baltimore in Week 10, when he was credited with eight tackles. Maiava also had 1.5 sacks in a season-ending 23-17 win over Jacksonville.