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  1. #1

    There were three linebackers from USC…



    In 2009 drafted. Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews in the following order. How would you rate them today? We had three linebackers out of Alabama this year; does 2009 give us insight into this years choices and when they were picked?





  2. #2
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    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    Well Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing are both studs and great picks. Clay Matthews was a steal at the end of the first round IMO, I know that he didn't have the best of years in 2011, but he needs some help, Nick Perry who is a guy I am high on can do that (also a USC player, so should fit in well with Matthews). That pick gets an A+ from me. Brian Cushing IMO was an even better pick. He is pretty much the leader of that much improved and now elite Texans defense, he flies around the pitch like a psycho, I think he is certainly up there with the best ILB's in the game right now, this pick deserves an A++ IMO.

    Rey Maualuga was someone I really liked coming out of college, but has failed to impress me so far. He has had off field issues with the law, and hasn't done anything spectacular on the field either, I'd say he's at best just slightly above average as an ILB in the league. At this point I'd rate him as the worst starting ILB in the AFC North, and that's not really as bad as it sounds, because there are some great and solid starting ILB's in the AFC North. He still has potential to grow into a great player, but he has a lot of work to do. For what it was in the second round, I'd give this a B.

    How do the Alabama players compare? Well I believe two, not three are going to be playing for NFL teams in 2012 (Ravens & Patriots respectively) correct me if I missed out on an UDRFA LB or something. I think both players where great college players, but I can't see Hightower having the success that Cushing has had, he just isn't athletic enough to be that good. I DO see him being better than Maualuga, and I see him being a solid 2 down run stuffing ILB, maybe a slightly better version of Brandon Spikes.

    I will compare Upshaw to Matthews here, they are different types of players IMO. Matthews is more of an explosive and natural pass rusher than what Upshaw is. However Upshaw is much better at setting the edge and stuffing the run, and is a great fit for the team who drafted him of course. I have been high on Upshaw since September of 2011, and I'm not just saying this because we didn't draft Hightower, but I see Upshaw having a better career and impact than Hightower. I think Upshaw will offer as much value to the Ravens, as Matthews does to the Packers, but will be in different ways, Upshaw probably will never be as good as Matthews as a pass rusher, but will still be pretty decent, but an elite run stuffer.




  3. #3

    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    Maualuga is a serviceable MLB in the NFL and nothing more, so he's clearly #3 on the list.

    Although Cushing was one of the best ILBs in the league last year, and great in 2009, but he was not very good at all in 2010 and has the cloud of PEDs hanging over him. I'm sure he has a tremendous career ahead of him but we have to evaluate what he's done, not what he will do.

    Clay Matthews is one of the best edge rushers in the league, not just one of its best LBs, although he is that as well. He's unquestionably the best player of the three. The ONLY thing that kept him from having a huge statistical year last year was that he had literally no help, although he had little help in 2009 and 2010, too. He still posted a huge number of combined sacks, hits, and hurries last year despite only 6.0 sacks.

    I think you could make a credible argument that Matthews is one of the 10 best defensive players in all of football. He is that good, and incredibly solid in all facets of the game.




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    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorecareful View Post
    Maualuga is a serviceable MLB in the NFL and nothing more, so he's clearly #3 on the list.

    Although Cushing was one of the best ILBs in the league last year, and great in 2009, but he was not very good at all in 2010 and has the cloud of PEDs hanging over him. I'm sure he has a tremendous career ahead of him but we have to evaluate what he's done, not what he will do.

    Clay Matthews is one of the best edge rushers in the league, not just one of its best LBs, although he is that as well. He's unquestionably the best player of the three. The ONLY thing that kept him from having a huge statistical year last year was that he had literally no help, although he had little help in 2009 and 2010, too. He still posted a huge number of combined sacks, hits, and hurries last year despite only 6.0 sacks.

    I think you could make a credible argument that Matthews is one of the 10 best defensive players in all of football. He is that good, and incredibly solid in all facets of the game.
    I personally disagree with your assessment. Both have had down years (Cushing in 2010, and Matthews in 2011), but I thought Cushing had such a good year in 2011. The same argument can be made for Cushing as you did for Matthews, their defense was so bad in 2010 and clearly needed more players on their defense. I think Cushing will eventually push Willis for being the best ILB in the game.




  5. #5

    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    What three Alabama LBers were drafted this year?

    And the order the USC players means nothing to where the Bama LBers were drafted.
    This is a novel I was asked to proofread. The author is giving 10% of the profits to kidney research, which is a big deal in the Darb household. Fair warning; it's a fantasy novel, and the main characters are lesbians. It's three bucks on kindle from Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/WINDOWS-BROKEN...ken+fairy+tale




  6. #6
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    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    Quote Originally Posted by bmorecareful View Post
    Maualuga is a serviceable MLB in the NFL and nothing more, so he's clearly #3 on the list.

    Although Cushing was one of the best ILBs in the league last year, and great in 2009, but he was not very good at all in 2010 and has the cloud of PEDs hanging over him. I'm sure he has a tremendous career ahead of him but we have to evaluate what he's done, not what he will do.

    Clay Matthews is one of the best edge rushers in the league, not just one of its best LBs, although he is that as well. He's unquestionably the best player of the three. The ONLY thing that kept him from having a huge statistical year last year was that he had literally no help, although he had little help in 2009 and 2010, too. He still posted a huge number of combined sacks, hits, and hurries last year despite only 6.0 sacks.

    I think you could make a credible argument that Matthews is one of the 10 best defensive players in all of football. He is that good, and incredibly solid in all facets of the game.
    I agree with you about Clay Matthews being the best of the 3, but frankly I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he was juicing like Cushing was caught for doing.

    Cushing was always a fairly big guy...even in high school. Clay Matthews had the bloodline, but was a walk on at USC and didn't even see any significant playing time until the last year he was at USC, IIRC. So, I'm just saying...I've always been a bit suspicious of that.
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  7. #7
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    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    i wouldnt be surprised if 75% of the league was juicing, we will soon find out when the new testing comes in, either directly by failed test, or indirectly, by weight loss, and huge drop offs in preformance
    Quote Originally Posted by wickedsolo View Post
    I agree with you about Clay Matthews being the best of the 3, but frankly I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he was juicing like Cushing was caught for doing.

    Cushing was always a fairly big guy...even in high school. Clay Matthews had the bloodline, but was a walk on at USC and didn't even see any significant playing time until the last year he was at USC, IIRC. So, I'm just saying...I've always been a bit suspicious of that.




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    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    Quote Originally Posted by arnie_uk View Post
    i wouldnt be surprised if 75% of the league was juicing, we will soon find out when the new testing comes in, either directly by failed test, or indirectly, by weight loss, and huge drop offs in preformance
    You know, I used to think that, but you can tell when someone is really juicing and when they're not. I've been working out long enough to see the difference just in physique. The military, for example, doesn't really do testing for certain steroids (yet) and so you can kind of tell when you have a 185lb guy with 0% fat who is benching over 400lbs 2-3 times...they're probably using something. When I played ball in college I played with some guys who are in the pros now and even though they look big on TV you'd be surprised that some of these guys really aren't as big as you'd think.

    Take Ray Lewis for example. I wouldn't be surprised if he has been using HGH and things like that because it really is RARE to have a 36/37 year old continue to play at such an effectively high level. However, I know that he works out ALL year, doesn't take any time off EVER, hasn't eaten things like chips or cheese burgers in over a decade, and consumes a multitude of supplements and things year round to keep him in the shape that he is in. Some guys are just blessed with incredible genes.
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  9. #9

    Re: There were three linebackers from USC…

    Quote Originally Posted by leachisabeast View Post
    I personally disagree with your assessment. Both have had down years (Cushing in 2010, and Matthews in 2011), but I thought Cushing had such a good year in 2011. The same argument can be made for Cushing as you did for Matthews, their defense was so bad in 2010 and clearly needed more players on their defense. I think Cushing will eventually push Willis for being the best ILB in the game.
    Matthews' 2011 wasn't actually a down year, though. His sacks went down, but he had more combined sacks, hits, and pressures than he did the previous year even without anybody to help him out. Cushing just had a legitimately down year in 2010 where he looked lost and didn't do anything.

    There's also the fact that in today's game, the #1 ILB is still not as important or dominant a player as the #5 or #6 pass rusher. That's just the nature of the game. The 49ers have had Patrick Willis for 5 years and have been utterly irrelevant for 4 of those 5.




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