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OLB, Brian Cushing, USC

OLB, Brian Cushing, USC

At A Glance
Position 1:  Outside LB Height:  6-4
Position 2:  DE Weight:  255
Class:  Senior Age:  23
Projected Round:  1st-2nd  40time:  4.75
Combine/Proday Results
Bench Reps:  30 Vertical:  35
20yd Split:  2.62 Broad Jump:  10'0"
10yd Split:  1.58 20yd Shuttle:  4.22
3 Cone Drill:  6.84  

Pros: Terrific athleticism and versatility.  Excellent hips, good pass rushing skills in blitz and from the end position.  Would suit a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme.

Cons: Inexperienced at LB, numerous injuries, including knee and shoulder.

Styg's Broncos Fit:    A top prospect at outside LB, with legitimate talent to move around a bit without a drop-off in play. As a LB he has great flexibility, good hips, quick feet and can stay with TEs even over long or deep routes. Sheds blocks well, but is too reliant on elusiveness to avoid blocks, and needs to take advantage of his superior upper body strength to forcefully engage and discard blockers. His injury history is a concern, but he has managed to stay healthy for a while now, so maybe that is behind him. Overall a top LB with the versatility to drop in zone, slide into the middle or line up as a rush end.

Around MHR:

From:  Something to watch this Saturday

Brian Cushing - LB, USC, Not as heralded as Maualuga (he was injured last year), but is fundelmentally as sound as they come, hard nosed, and makes plays, would be a great outside backer as he has great pass rush skills, but I could also see him being a terror in the middle.  This is a guy we would probably have a shot at (although likely trade) since he will probably be a top 15 pick.

                                                                                           ~BroncomanSep 9, 2008

Cush in the first makes me cringe...

First off, I’m a huge Cushing fan too. The guy is a beast I agree. But I think the term “love is blind” applies here boydy. You can’t ignore Brian’s injury history. Play through pain? Absolutely, this kid is a gamer. No question on heart, desire, dedication, etc. But you would have to be just a little nervous on spending a first on this kid right? Especially if Rey, TMays and Laurinitis are still available, wouldn’t you? This isn’t like college ball where you make a bad decision on a scholarship, and just bring in someone new the next year to fix the mistake. Spending a first round pick on an injury prone LB after a year like we had this year, may be too much to ask this staff to do right now.

                                               ~donbok1, commenting about which round cushing is viable in...


SBNation Says:

From Scouting Report at Mocking the Draft:

 When he plays, Cushing is an impressive strong-side linebacker who is fast, athletic and tenacious. However, injuries have slowed him greatly throughout his career. Cushing could easily play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. Known to spend a lot of money on supplements and may have a maxed out frame.

Had a sprained wrist during spring 2008 camp. Had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle prior to 2008 spring practice. Missed three games in 2007 because of a sprained left ankle. Missed most of spring of 2007 because of a hamstring strain. Had arthroscopic knee surgery following '07 camp. Missed five games in 2005 due to a dislocated shoulder, which required surgery.

From SBNation USC blog, Conquest Chronicles, any discussion of Cushing has to include the tremendous amount of talent that he plays around...

From the USC football official website, both Taylor Mays and Rey Maualuga are part of the first team All-America choices for and the Sporting News. That makes nine All-America first teams for the senior LB and 8 for the junior safety.  Brian Cushing and Fili Moala made their way onto the second team choices for the Sporting News.


More highlights:  2008 interview, youtube highlights

Scouting Reports and Offsite Links:

  • Cushing is an excellent outside linebacker whose injury history has really cut his production down during his collegiate career. He possesses a very good combination of height, bulk, and overall speed. He is very productive when he is on the field. Cushing is a very instinctual player and seems to play a step ahead of most defenders.  [see more...]
  • Cushing is a really talented prospect, but simply needs to make more plays at the next level. I could see him become a star, I could also see him bust, which in my mind makes him a "Boom or Bust" prospect. I really can’t definitively say how good I think Cushing will be in the league. His stock should rise during the Senior Bowl and Combine because he is built like Adonis. [see more...]
  • Has played defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker for the Trojans...Manufactured athlete who should test well but isn't that impressive on film and often looks like a defensive end in a linebacker's body...Is overrated as a pro prospect but has the talent to start at the  next level if he can  somehow find a way to stay  healthy.  [see more...]
  • Has had no known off-field issues, but is regarded as a somewhat cocky player. Not really considered a leader for the Trojans, which may say more about the leadership qualities of Rey Maualuga.  [see more...]
  • He’s aggressive and unleashes big hits against the opposition. He flows well to the action and uses his speed in pursuit of the ball carrier. He backpedals nicely and gets good depth dropping back in coverage.   [see more...]
  • Cushing has received a ton of hype, from when he was a highly recruited high school player through his time with USC. While he has incredible natural athleticism, Cushing hasn't been the dominant defender as expected. However, much of that can be traced to his switching positions often, as he played defensive end and outside linebacker and middle linebacker while with the Trojans. He could line up at any position in the NFL, but his best fit is at strongside linebacker. Cushing's strong traits should make him a productive three-down NFL linebacker.  [see more...]
  • Cushing played everywhere from defensive end to inside linebacker to outside linebacker in his time at USC, so he has some versatility. He plays sideline to sideline, takes good angles, moves well in traffic, and does a decent job getting off blocks. He also has the speed and closing burst to run down ball carriers from behind.  [see more...]