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Brian Cushing

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by nickw308810, Apr 15, 2009.

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  1. nickw308810

    nickw308810 Rookie

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    I have seen a lot of people on here that absolutely do not want him on the Patriots and I am prett confused why. I posted this on another thread but didn't really get the responses I was looking for, so I figured I would try again.

    When I watch him play I see a guy who would be almost perfect at SILB next to Mayo. He already is used to playing on the strongside as he was the SLB for USC, but also spent time at MLB and the "elephant" DE, making him one of/if not the most versatile defender in the draft.

    He is great against the run and does a very good job taking on and shedding blockers to get to the ball. He is an explosive athlete who can really lay the lumber and is a pretty good special teams player as well. A smart, instinctive player, he also is solid at blitzing up the middle.

    If you look at the numbers listed on CBS Sportsline NFL Draft - 2009 Draft Prospects - CBSSports.com Football you will see that Cushing's numbers come pretty close to Barwin's, who we all must admit is an athletic freak. (For the record I'd love Cushing at 23 and Barwin at 34).

    OVR Pos. Rank Player Pos. School Ht. Wt. Proj. Rd. Stock 40 Time Bench Reps Vert. Jump Twenty Yard Ten Yard Broad Jump Shuttle Cone
    15 2 Brian Cushing OLB Southern California 6-3 243 1 same 4.64 30 35 2.62 1.53 10'00" 4.22 6.84
    31 4 Connor Barwin OLB Cincinnati 6-4 256 1-2 up 4.59 21 40 1/2 2.68 1.53 10'08" 4.18 6.87


    I wouldn't doubt that at one point in his career he took something he wasn't supposed to, but it wasn't recently as all his drug tests have shown, so I don't seeing that being a problem anymore. He also had durability concerns, but after playing all of last season seemed to work through those as well.

    The guy has been starting at USC, a perennial powerhouse, on a great defense since his freshman season. He is flat out a football player. Some experts talk about him not being fluid in coverage, but he proved at USC that he could match up with TEs. I think a lot of the talk about his hips came from the fact that Matthews was so fluid -but we aren't looking for another Mayo, we are looking for someone to partner him for the next decade, and that's where I think Cushing fits better than any other backer in this draft.
  2. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    He's my favorite of the USC linebackers. I'd consider him late in the second round. As an OLB.
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He's 243 and a weightroom demon who spends several thousand dollars a year on supplements, just how much more weight can he add? His durability has been called into question and while his weight is the same as Mayo's playing weight last season, Mayo had room to add additional muscle weight - Cushing doesn't give you the confidence he can add more muscle. Bruschi plays at 247 (and I think he's heavier since the stroke), Ted Johnson was over 250, Adalius is 270...I expect Guyton and Mayo to both bulk up another 5-10 lbs as Coach Woicik's conditioning takes effect.

    Like Heat, I consider Cushing is the best of the four USC backers right now, but he looks more like a SLB in a 4-3 and not like a NE SILB.
  4. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    What makes you say this? And please try not to use the words "Ted Johnson" or "Two-down" as this will invalidate any points you are trying to make. If Cushing isn't your choice at ILB, who is?

    I'm not necessarily sold on Cushing myself but I certainly wouldn't say he is a bad fit for the Pats.
  5. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Day Two:

    Jason Williams
    Tyrone McKenzie
    Jason Phillips
    Robert Francois
    Mike Rivera

    Now validate Cushing.
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    First, I'm scared of Cushing with the supplement and steroid questions. Despite the combine test result being a false scare, I think that Cushing has significant questions in this area, and I personally am convinced that he bulked up on steroids at one point in his career. The physical changes he underwent (particularly the breast enlargement, followed by the rapid muscle development) are not easily explained otherwise.

    Second, there is the injury issue. Cushing has been brittle much of his career. He had a healthy senior year, but a lot of difficulty staying on the field before that. Steroids could be an issue here as well, as they affect wound healing and blood flow, leading to bone and muscle damage.

    Third, there is his playing style. I'm not a big fan of any of the 3 USC backers fitting in for the Pats because Pete Carroll's system is so different from Belichick's. These guys just aren't very good at taking on blockers. What I saw of Cushing playing MLB when Maualuga was injured did not impress me. While he has fairly good workout numbers, he looks stiff and his movement doesn't particularly impress me (comared with Matthews, who is much more fluid).

    The bottom line for me is that I don't see enough upside to his playing style to overcome the concerns I have about steroid use and injury susceptibility. They may turn out to be totally in the past, and he may end up being a solid and injury-free player the rest of his career, but for me those are red flags that scare me off. I'll pass.

    Regarding ILB in this draft, Aaron Curry would be a terrific SILB but is out of reach. I'm not a big Maualuga fan. Robert Ayers and Clay Matthews both intrigue me - combine their strengths and you have the ideal SILB. I worry about Matthews being able to take on blockers, but I would probably give him a shot. Later on I like Jason Williams and Jason Phillips.

    I'm not convinced we need to get an SILB out of this draft. Adalius Thomas always offers the option of moving inside. If we get a good OLB out of the draft, if Shawn Crable develops, if we sign Jason Taylor - any or all of those things could increase the chance that AD might move back inside, where he would be a better SILB complement to Mayo than anyone in this draft other than Aaron Curry.
  7. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From the "Draft Audibles" link I just started a thread for :

    "If you watched (USC LB Brian) Cushing at his pro day, he opened up the wrong way twice in drills. He did the same thing once at the Combine. He’s a meathead. Rey Maualuga is going to need some reps, too. It won’t be instant for him. The safest linebacker of that group is Clay Matthews."

    NFL Draft - NFL draft preview and analysis from Pro Football Weekly
  8. nickw308810

    nickw308810 Rookie

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    First off let me thank everyone for all the good replies. Now let me address a couple of them.

    You make a very good point and I agree that he probably can't add too much more weight, but I guess my question is, considering his strength, how much weight does he really need to add? IMO he is already very good taking on blockers and is a sure tackler.
  9. nickw308810

    nickw308810 Rookie

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    The steroid and durability questions are legit concerns and I wouldn't doubt if you were right that he was taking something earlier in his career. But it also is possible to bulk up the way he did in a top collegiate strength and conditioning program if you are a gym rat like he is and take quality and legal supplements. I mean I have no clue which way he did it, I am just saying it is possible that he (and Matthews for that matter) are clean.

    I think you are unfairly grouping Cushing in with Matthews and Rey M. when it comes to being able to take on blockers. I saw him time and time again take on blocks and make the tackle even when the 300+ lb offensive lineman got their hands on him. And while he might not be as fluid as Matthews, he is still more than fluid and athletic enough to be able to excel. Considering what I have seen of Matthews ability to take on blockers and stuff the run, I think he would be more similiar to Laurinitis as a 3-4 SILB prospect, which most agree with are talents that don't necessarily fit our system.
  10. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    First there is no doubt in my mind that he is a football player and a very good football player.

    Regardless of what position he plays on the Pats defense, he will need to be taught technique, and lots of it.

    (Watch Mayo in the first Miami game get shredded by the big Miami OL. Then watch him in the second Miami game, he shacks and sheds the Miami OL almost perfectly. Technique is taught and acquired through repetition.)

    My issue with him is simple. He is not natural 240 plus pound athlete. He looks very tight to me. And history tells us that overly muscular tightly muscled guys tend to spend a lot of time in NFL training rooms.

    Years ago the Colts took a Washington Huskie DT Entman 1st overall in the draft that year. He was a bigger Cushing (Very muscular and very tight) and his body literally exploded to pieces in the NFL.

    And there are literally hundreds of other examples of overly muscular and tightly muscled guys falling apart in the NFL and I think a lot of teams will consider that when drafting Orakpo, which is why I see him falling some next Saturday.
  11. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Rookie

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    And Hundreds of examples of the opposite. DeMarcus Ware is big, Pat Willis is Bigger, and Joey Porter is HUGE! Muscles have nothing to do with hip tightness.
  12. BritPat

    BritPat Rookie

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  13. Revman

    Revman Rookie

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    Good choice.Versatility his strength. Pat's love versatility-I would not discount him at 23. I like Hood,Mack, and Maulaluga as my favorite 3. I just think those are 3 of the smartest choices that may be around at 23.I am going on record to say-barring injury-the 3 I have listed will be 3 of about 7 that will contribute as rookies and eventually become primary players out of this draft. I think the rule of thumb is about 15% of round oners pan out as good choices.
  14. Belichicknumber1

    Belichicknumber1 Banned

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    I really hope Belichick stays away from this guy. He spends hundreds of dollars a month putting god knows what into his body. I just don't think the Pats need a guy like Cushing and the package that come with him.
  15. Box_O_Rocks

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    Of the four USC Linebackers, his game is the closest to what NE does, but I don't see first round value in what he brings, mid-to-late second and he starts to have possibilities. I hope he's not embarrassed in the greenroom, if I was advising one of these kids, I'd tell them to stay as far away from NYC and TV cameras as they can get on draft day.
  16. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    If Cushing is there at #23 I'd be stunned.
  17. nickw308810

    nickw308810 Rookie

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    I came across this in the regular form, an excellent post by Box about what it takes to be a 3-4 ILB and thought it would apply to this discussion.

    This was a GREAT review. Now here is part of Cushing's scouting report from CBS Sportsline/NFL DRAFT SCOUT.
    It sounds like the scouting report fits what we are looking for in a 3-4 ILB pretty well. He could use some pass defense work, but I think any player we draft is going to need improvement in some area.
  18. Deus Irae

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    When a player is physically maxed out in college and his best characteristics are things which other players will improve upon in the pros, that's got to be a red flag. It's not a guarantee of failure, but it's definitely something to take into consideration.
  19. Mogamedogz

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  20. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thank you.

    Here's the part of Cushing's scouting report that jumped out at me:
    As long as we're talking about an ILB who is going to be engaging OL on just about every run play, this profile fails to measure up. I like the kid, if I was a Bills fan I'd be excited to see him drafted, I don't see him as a good NE ILB fit.

    Compare these notes from Mayo's profile:
    We saw all of that in 2008 as he learned how to play ILB for NE. As his hands got better toward the end of the season he was more effective engaging blockers. Most of us agree the Pats need to find a SILB, Cushing reads to be less able to play inside then Mayo did from the profiles - SILB needs to be better at battling blockers. BB can find players as good or better than Cushing later in the draft, let Houston or NO or someone else put him to work and use that #1 pick on a better fit for NE.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
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