2009 NFL Draft Prospects: <br> Rey Maualuga Profile
Strengths: Physically is the prototype with both great upper and lower body strength ... Nice range in pass coverage ... Always around the football ... Explodes to and through the ball carrier ... Hits very hard and is a great open-field tackler ... Uses his hands well to shed blockers and locate tacklers ... Great at diagnosing the run ... A huge threat to get to the quarterback and blitz ... Has better range in zone than given credit for ... Extremely aggressive football player ... Can jar the ball loose and create turnovers ... A big-time leader on the USC defense ... Plays for a team known for producing great linebackers.
Weaknesses: Could be more instinctive vs. the pass and should recognize play action more quickly ... Solid speed, but it isn't elite ... Struggles going against slot receivers in man coverage ... Hips aren't very fluid (but this is normal for ILBs) ...
Summary: Because of the progression he is shown throughout his career, I'm confident his instincts and leadership will improve even more in his senior season. Can play any scheme in the 4-3, but his ability to blitz and plug the run make him an elite fit for the 3-4.
Player Comparison: Barrett Ruud. Ruud is one of the best young linebackers in the NFL and consistently makes big plays. Maualuga displays that same kind of great leadership. Both play the run very well and have great lateral range.
I think Dalvin Cook is the best fit, but it's close...they need a CB to replace Josh Norman, but it's a deep class. And I'm sure Rivera is looking at Barnett and Charlton, a DE is always on their list.
As the NFL Draft approaches, I will be making weekly adjustments up until the 27th of April. Rest of the writeups will be coming later this week. Any questions/comments/criticisms can be voiced in the comments. I will respond to all.