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  1. #1
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    Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    01/21/2009

    MOBILE, Ala. The suitors lined up near midfield as soon as the South team had broken its huddle to end Tuesday's Senior Bowl practice.

    Kansas City, New Orleans, New England and Baltimore all were setting up interviews for that night with Rey Maualuga, star linebacker from the University of Southern California.

    "You can have me whenever you want," Maualuga told one scout.

    "How 'bout April 25?" the scout replied.

    Which would be the first day of the 2009 NFL draft.

    There's no doubt Maualuga will be one of the most coveted defensive players in this year's draft. This season's winner of the Bednarik Award as college football's top defensive player, Maualuga was one of the centerpieces of a dominating Trojans defense.

    As such, he looks like a sure top 10 pick. And someone who might perfect for a team looking to get bigger and more physical. Like say, the Rams with the No. 2 overall pick. Top-tier draft picks frequently skip the Senior Bowl, but Maualuga apparently has nothing to hide.

    "No sir," he told the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday. "This is something that I've been working hard for in my last couple years. To be able to be out here with a group of phenomenal athletes, and share my abilities with everyone else and to compete at the highest level. It's an honor to be here."

    Then came the clincher.

    "I'm just trying to be discovered," he said.

    Discovered?

    Make no mistake, every one of the hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches assembled here knows about Maualuga. However, what they're trying to "discover" is whether Maualuga is an every-down linebacker. No one doubts his strength and physical presence.

    "He's a kamikaze," said one veteran scout. "He wants to kill people out there. He seems to run well once he gets going. But he may be just a 'triangle' player."

    In other words, Maualuga's future in the NFL could be as a run defender at middle linebacker, hitting anything that moves between the tackles but coming out on passing downs.

    There are some questions about Maualuga's coverage skills, and that could mean all the difference in the world in terms of his draft value. An every-down linebacker gets taken in the top 10. Someone who comes out in passing situations isn't as valuable.


    "I've got a lot to prove (this week)," Maualuga said. "Like I said, I came out here to get discovered and show the coaches that the things I established during the season, I've gotten better at. I'm trying to show them that I'm a complete player."

    Sometimes, Maualuga's coverage skills suffer because he over-commits to the run.

    "During the season, I had tendencies of trying to make that big play," Maualuga said. "Leaving my feet and trying to make a phenomenal play when coach would say just make the plays you can make. Or don't try to be someone that you're not."

    Maualuga has excellent size for a linebacker, even by NFL standards. But some critics wonder if he's so big that his speed suffers.

    "People doubted my weight being overweight," Maualuga said. "I'm Polynesian. I'm Samoan. We've got big bones, and our family, we're known for being big."

    Maualuga said he measured in for Senior Bowl week at 6-1, 254 pounds, after spending most of his senior season playing at 255-260.

    "I'm positive about my speed, and I'm positive about myself covering the ground," he said.

    As for a legitimate 40 time?

    "I would love to surprise some people, so I'll just leave it at that," he said.

    Which means, scouts and coaches may have to wait until the NFL scouting combine in February to gauge his speed if Maualuga chooses to run there. (No timing is done at the Senior Bowl.)

    Maualuga is wearing his familiar jersey No. 58 for the South squad, the same number that former USC linebacker (and current Seattle Seahawk) Lofa Tatupu wore for the Trojans. Tatupu also is of Samoan descent.

    This week, he's still wearing eye-black under each eye with the word "Dad" on it.

    "I wore my dad's eye-black for (almost) every game since I've been at USC," Maualuga said.

    His father, a U.S. Army veteran and Pentecostal minister, died of brain cancer at the end of the 2005 season. For Maualuga, wearing that eye-black in Mobile is a sign that he means business at the Senior Bowl.

    "Just being out here is a game atmosphere for me," he said.

    Especially when you're trying to be discovered.


  2. #2
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    Re: Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    this is an awful Report

    every scout is questioning his work habits

    he has been seen out of shape over the last 2 weeks

    his attitude has been poor at camps and without a good forty time most scouts believe he is going to slip down to pick 20

    when the scout said this

    He's a kamikaze," said one veteran scout. "He wants to kill people out there. He seems to run well once he gets going. But he may be just a 'triangle' player."


    he was stated how he thinks Ray isn't a smart player and can't play all downs in the nfl

    most scouts are think he is only a forth LB worth rotating in and not worthy of a top 10 pick unless he puts up a freak combine

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    Re: Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    Let me tell you something as a SC fan I will let you in on a super sleeper pic...

    Kaluka Maiava he is the unsung hero in the bunch and won defensive mvp in this rosebowl.


    Ya Ya I know he is a OLB but with that said he is a cross between lofa tatupu and troy polamalu.

    If he is still around early in the 3rd he would be a STEAL!!!!

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMPAGE! View Post
    If he is still around early in the 3rd he would be a STEAL!!!!
    I would disagree at this point. He could be a good player in the right scheme at the next level, but he's pretty undersized for most schemes, especially if he measures in at the combine under six feet tall.

    I read a comment from a couple of days ago where he measured in at 232 pounds and he said that was heavy for him. 232 is heavy? If he plays at a lighter weight, he's probably going to be pretty restricted with what he can do at the next level. By restricted I mean probably a WILL in a traditional 4-3 or maybe even restricted to being in a Cover/Tampa 2.

    He didn't get a Senior Bowl invite, even though USC brought nine to the Senior Bowl last year. At this point I'd put him more towards the fifth or sixth round with the potential to rise a bit if he tests well at the combine. He should come into the league and be a quality special teams player and back-up, but unless he gets the right schematic fit, he could have some trouble as a starter.

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    Re: Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If he plays at a lighter weight, he's probably going to be pretty restricted with what he can do at the next level. By restricted I mean probably a WILL in a traditional 4-3 or maybe even restricted to being in a Cover/Tampa 2.

    You know I will have to stick to my guns and say third rounder,but you could be right who knows.

    They also said Suggs was way to slow and he would never amount to much. Guess those scouts and the combine were wrong? He even re schedueled a private workout in AZ and was even slower than the combine wokout.Imagine that looks like he worked out.

    Sometimes you go with the blue collar guy that brings his lunch box to work every day.

    For the record suggs was just off recent memory you and I both know we could have a list that went forever on guys that dont fit the prototypical mold. aka tom brady, jerry rice, brian urlacher, and so on...

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    Re: Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    Quote Originally Posted by richtree View Post
    this is an awful Report
    I bet Kenny Britt is a much better LB, isn't he?


    I'm just playin' with ya, rich.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  7. #7
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas: USC linebacker Rey Maualuga is a hot commodity

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMPAGE! View Post
    They also said Suggs was way to slow and he would never amount to much. Guess those scouts and the combine were wrong? He even re schedueled a private workout in AZ and was even slower than the combine wokout.Imagine that looks like he worked out.
    You're referring to Terrell Suggs? The guy was a top ten pick in 2003, so clearly scouts viewed him as having a lot of pro potential. I don't get the comparison here.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMPAGE! View Post
    For the record suggs was just off recent memory you and I both know we could have a list that went forever on guys that dont fit the prototypical mold. aka tom brady, jerry rice, brian urlacher, and so on...
    You're right, we could make a long list of guys that weren't highly graded that went on to have successful NFL careers. No one is denying that.

    But we could also make a list of guys who weren't highly regarded that didn't have successful NFL careers, and it'd probably be ten times as long as the first list.

    While there are plenty of examples of unheralded guys who have made an impact at the next level, that's not necessarily a reason to go out and target those unheralded guys with picks where their value might not be great.

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