Thursday, April 2, 2009

All Access: More USC Pro Day Results

Based on unofficial times, here are the 40 numbers for the rest of the group: Cushing (4.68), Matthews (4.57), Maiava (4.68), S Kevin Ellison (4.70), CB Cary Harris (4.89), WR Patrick Turner (4.63) and DE Kyle Moore (4.76). QB Mark Sanchez chose not to run the 40, standing on his 4.88 time at the combine. Harris suffered a hamstring injury during the workouts. Saints coach Sean Payton, Vikings coach Brad Childress, 49ers coach Mike Singletary, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and Lions coach Jim Schwartz were on the USC campus today. Several GMs are also getting a first-hand look, including the Lions’ Martin Mayhew, the Saints’ Mickey Loomis, the Vikings’ Rick Spielman, the Cardinals’ Rod Graves and Ted Thompson of the Packers. A number of coordinators are getting a look, including Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Lions and Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill is here, and I’m told he brought the Cardinals’ contingent on his private jet. The Lions and Saints have the biggest contingents, followed by the Seahawks, Raiders and Vikings.

Mandel's Take:
Cushing, like the aforementioned Maualuga, hits hard and seems to enjoy knocking the crap out of people. Cushing played all over the field in college and I'd say he was a better prospect than Maualuga if it weren't for two things: 1) Cushing isn't as durable and 2) there are rampant rumors surrounding Cushing using illegal supplements. I know he's stated he doesn't do anything steroid-related, but would he really admit it? I'm not saying he's done anything, but teams are very wary of the physical transformation he's gone through and it could hurt him on Draft day. Matthews, the third of the Trojan linebacking trio, is perhaps the most intriguing. He's gone from a walk-on to a first round pick. That improvement must be respected, and he's only getting better. With some more experience and a bit of bulk added to his dedication and athleticism, it could be this kid that ends up being the brightest star of this talented trio. Turner's size and experience could allow him to be a solid possession guy in the NFL, but his lack of speed will be a hindrance. Rev, do Maiava's inexperience and lack of size scare you, or would you use a mid-round pick on him? Discuss!

Mancini's Take: Maiava's a project with great agility to elude blockers and make plays in space. He's not as big as most outside linebackers. His lack of size becomes a concern when he can't run by blockers and must take them head-on. I don't know if he can disengage from much bigger tight ends, offensive linemen or fullbacks even. Maiava would be best served by playing in a Cover-2 scheme. I'm also worried about the steroid allegations concerning Cushing, aka the Bergen Bulldog, and would want to know more about his past before drafting him. My favorite guy here is Clay Matthews Jr. With his work ethic and already rapid progress, he'll be a terror off the edge. Matthews is also a secure tackler and is athletic enough to contribute in pass coverage.

Photo Credit: College Press Box (USC)