ILB, Rey Maualuga, USC



ILB, Rey Maualuga, USC

At A Glance
Position 1:  Inside LB Height:  6-2
Position 2:  Outside LB Weight:  249
Class:  Senior Age:  23
Projected Round:  1st  40time:  4.74
Combine/Proday Results
Bench Reps:  23 Vertical:  X
20yd Split:  2.75 Broad Jump:  X
10yd Split:  1.62 20yd Shuttle:  X
3 Cone Drill:  X  

Pros: Powerful hitter, excellent acceleration and short area quickness.  High energy player.

Cons:  Needs to breakdown and wrap up more, over pursuit will expose cutback lanes at the pro level.

Styg's Broncos Fit:   Maualuga's motor is great, but not unheard of, and his sideline-to-sideline speed makes him very versatile, but there are several LBs with good speed. What Maualuga does bring however, is a rare burst of explosiveness when closing on the line. He has the power of a top DT bundled into the frame of an ILB. One drawback is his recklessness, as he seems to sacrifice awareness for explosion, which could lead to gap trouble. His tackling also suffers for this, as he sometimes gets his head down and loses track of his target. As a base formation run stopper he could provide significant upgrade to Denver's defense, and with his average hips but excellent feet, he should be able to contribute in coverage as well. He has a chance to contribute inside on almost any down, which makes him a tremendous value. In fact, the only formation I can think of where he would be the odd man out is a straight base 4-3, where he is responsible for the line calls.

Around MHR:

From:  My Offseason Broncos Breakdown

Linebackers. Every great defense starts with a great middle linebacker. Think of the great Denver defenses and you have to start with Randy Gradishar, Karl Mecklenburg, or Al Wilson and the leadership they brought to the table. Look around the league and the teams getting it done are led by the likes of Ray Lewis and James Farrior (who are both free agents but I can't see either team letting them get away). We need to take Rey Maualuga of USC in the first round with the 12th pick.

                                                                          -BroncoCanuckJan 7, 2009

From: 10 Steps to Bring us Back to Contention

5. Draft a Southern Cal Trojan.

In a college game in which scoring has gone wild, the only statistic to be trusted is the 9.0 points per game surrendered by USC. When the Broncos pick No. 12 in the first round, if they see Trojans linebacker Rey Maualuga or safety Taylor Mays on the board, it's a no-brainer.

                                                                             ~uclabruin34, Jan 4, 2009

From:  Your Earliest Broncos Draft Preview

Another fantastic MLB prospect that flurishes on the tough USC D.  He's essentially the inverse of Laurinatis: tremendous upside but misses easy plays at times.  Might be better suited as a ILB in a 3-4, but has a tremendous blend of size and agressiveness.

                                                                          ~SethGrandpa, Dec 28

From:  A Bronco Fan Christmas List, Steve O's comprehensive look at the salary cap situation going into 09.

Now for the draft, I would like to make a big splash in 2009, because the team is young and can sustain the few extra picks traded to move up and nab talent but the money may not be there. First off I figure out when Rey Maualuga is going to get drafted and start working the phones. I love his size. At 260 pounds we could have DJ catch em and Maualuga thump em!

From: Something to Watch this Saturday

Rey Maualuga - LB, USC, I personally love this guy, he is likely to be a top 5 pick, so little chance we could nab him, (but who knows, maybe Al Davis will trade us his pick for Travis Henry, Patrick Ramsey and a new jump suit), anyways, I compare him to a bigger version of Junior Saeu, he is somewhat stiff in coverage, but I have never seen a college LB his size, that could run as well, and hits like a freight train.  He makes plays all over the field.  A really special player, here's hoping he doesn't end up in Silver and Black.  I really hope he ends up outside our division if we don't get him, because he will be a terror in the league for a long time.

                                                                                          ~Broncoman, Sept.09, 2008

Normally, a draft crop is ‘made’ by an influx of juniors. For instance, this year’s RB crop was anemic until the juniors declared. The same situation existed for MLBs, although many potential junior declarees deferred this year because it was widely believed that both Rey Maualuga and James Laurinaitis would come out, but neither did. The result is that there’s a surplus of MLBs in the 2009 crop.

                                                                                          ~Comment by Colinski

SBNation Says:

From Scouting Reportat Mocking the Draft:

Plays with a lot of passion and is as intense of a player as there is in the entire nation. Never quits on a play. Always work hard to get to the ball. Makes audible calls for the front seven. Prototypical size for the position. Has an NFL body. Packed with loads of raw ability and power. Excellent speed for a middle linebacker, especially one of his size. Incredible short-area burst. Changes direction with ease and doesn’t lose much speed. Always appears to be running downhill. Has the strength to shed quickly. An explosive tackler who has made a lot of highlight-reel hits during his career. A technically sound drive tackler.

From SBNation USC Trojans blog, Conquest Chronicles, Rey receives top award:

USC senior linebacker Rey Maualuga was named the winner of the 2008 Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to college football's top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.

He is the first USC player to win the trophy.

On the year, Maualuga has a team-best 73 tackles, including 2.5 for losses, plus 3 deflections and 2 interceptions (1 was returned for a TD). He has been named a 2008 All-American first teamer and he was among 4 finalists for the 2008 Lombardi Award, 5 finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and 12 finalists for the Butkus Award.

Highlights

More highlights:  Huge Forsett hitanother huge hit.

Scouting Reports and Offsite Links:

  • Maualuga reminds many of another former USC linebacker, Junior Seau. Maualuga has great size and power. He may lack sideline to sideline speed, but does have good short-area quickness. He is surprisingly smooth for such a big linebacker. Maualuga has improved his instincts as a blitzer. Maualuga is a great middle linebacker prospect and in the right system could emerge as an even better pro than college player.  [see more...]
  • Outstanding player with the ability to dominate and change a game. Plays well in space, can move sideline to siideline and hits like a sledgehammer. Instant starter.  [see more...] 
  •  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.  [see more...]
  • One of Maualuga’s biggest strengths can also at times be a weakness. Maualuga at times can be too aggressive and over pursue. He needs work in his pass coverage, specifically recognizing pass and dropping to his zone quicker. Maualuga is still raw, and needs work in a lot of areas to become more technically sound.  [see more...]
  • Does not have elite timed speed...Inconsistent...Can be too aggressive at times...Always looking to deliver the knockout blow and will miss some tackles...Does not always take proper angles...Lacks fluid hips...May struggle to match up in coverage...Average change of direction skills...Range is somewhat limited...Will get caught out of position at times... Still immature...Ran into some trouble off the field.  [see more...]
  • Arrested in 2005 after allegedly punching someone at a Halloween party. No charges were ever filed. Has had no other character problems, but he seems to enjoy the Los Angeles celebrity lifestyle  [see more...]
  • One of the flashiest players in college football, Maualuga will be on NFL highlight reels for year to come. His aggressive style and tendency for big hits will make him an asset in the NFL, especially if he can keep his emotions under control. He could play MLB in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme, but would probably struggle if asked to play in a Cover 2 type scheme. Maualuga is probably a little overrated by the general public but he is still a solid NFL prospect with a ton of upside.  [see more...]
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