The University of Southern California certainly forbids plagiarism, but in this instance, cutting-and-pasting is the only option available. Later this month, the 2009 NFL Draft will feature the entire core of starting linebackers from the 2008 USC Trojans defense.
The trio of Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews will all most-likely be selected in the first round of the upcoming draft. They all bring a similar smash-mouth style, that isn’t overly fancy and is undeniably rough around the edges. These guys aren’t squeeky clean kids, they aren’t flashy athletes, and they certainly don’t take kindly to dudes wearing the opposite color jersey.
Each of these guys are gladiator-like warriors who live up to their Trojan name. Maualuga is the fierce inside-backer, who may not be very fast, but is a bonafied tackle-machine and a fox-in-the-whole leader. Cushing could be the most impressive physical specimen of the trio and possesses a tremendous strength-speed combo. Clay Matthews, though equipped with a similar build, is a more sideline-to-sideline athlete who can fly around in coverage while remaining stout against the run.
With the proliferation of 3-4 defenses around the league, a premium has been put on big-strong-quick linebackers. All three of these guys fit that bill, and will definitely be gone by pick 35.