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BM Exclusive Draft Profile: Brian Cushing

December 22, 2008

The day is just getting started as we prepare for the 2009 NFL Draft. It is never too early. Our next Draft Profile in an all day marathon of them is Outside Linebacker Brian Cushing of USC. Remember though to stop by from 7:00 to 8:00 ET to our Live Blog to wrap up the day and give an overview of the upcoming draft

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Cushing Tries To Bat Down a Pass

 

Name: Brian Cushing

Position: Strong Side Linebacker

School: USC

Height & Weight: 6-3 / 255

Class: Senior

What I Think: Brian Cushing is part of one of the best college defenses in recent memories with Rey Maualuga, Taylor Mays and himself. Cushing doesn’t overly impress me but does have some solid traits that could make him a good player in the NFL. First off he has great instincts. He gets right off the snap with quickness and agility. His instincts are nothing short of amazing for a strong side linebacker. Cushing has decent speed but is not fantastic. He can accelerate quickly and can go at full speed for a long period of time but needs to control it more. Also what I like about Cushing is that he has great closing speed on the ball. His pursuit is very good and when he gets there is a violent tackler. Cushing wraps up and drives through the ball carrier. He hits hard and can be deadly when he tries to strip the ball from an opponent. I would beware of Cushing for one big reason, his injuries are haunting. Teams need to decide whether he is good enough to risk an injury concern in the first round. Be careful drafters because this is one of those picks that could come back to haunt you. When you mix an injury prone player with USC and a high draft spot you are asking for trouble or an amazing player. Overall while appearing in 10 games (all but Washington, Stanford and Arizona) and starting 8 times (Idaho and USC’s last 7 games), he had 25 tackles, including 2.5 for losses of 4 yards (with a 2-yard sack), plus a fumble recovery and 2 deflections. He sprained his left ankle in the Idaho opener, then played briefly but didn’t start the next 2 games (Nebraska and Washington State) before re-spraining it against Washington State and being sidelined for the next 3 contests in 2007. Cushing is a risky pick but could be worth it. Either way, buyer beware. 

Draft Grade: B+

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