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Old 02-16-2009, 11:20 AM   #1
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http://insider.espn.go.com/nfldraft/...9%26id%3d24453

I've been somewhat stuck on going with Rey Maualuga or B.J. Raji, but after doing some research on this year's crop I'm now putting my vote in for Brian Cushing as our pick at #12. Now, I have not seen any of these players actually play, and am basing much of this off the various reports I've read, so please keep that in mind. Anyhow, here's my case for "Cush":

The SLB position is a very important one in Mike Nolan's defense
Per my thread on Nolan's 30-front (http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=76570), I believe the SOLB position is the most important of the four linebacker spots in Nolan's scheme. Cushing could step right in and theoretically fill that need for years. From what I've read, he's not only a sound tackler, but very solid in coverage which is vital at the SOLB spot.

He's versatile
This is a big plus considering we're very likely looking at a hybrid system for this coming season. From what I've gathered, he's played DE, OLB and ILB but is best fit as a true SLB, a sure position of need. That versatility reminds me of Mike Vrabel, something that should speak to Josh McDaniels.

He's smart and tough
At least according to the reports I've read, he should fit right in as a McDaniels/Nolan-type defender. You can't play the number of positions he did without having a high football IQ, and the bit I've read speaks to him as a tough player who is a sound tackler who always finds himself in the right position and is an underrated pass rusher.

He's from a winning program that produces quality NFL players.
Sometimes this can be overrated, by I think it's a plus worth mentioning.

There isn't a NT worth selecting at #12
I suppose Raji could play the spot, but it's not what he does best. His build and talents don't best serve that spot. In addition, I doubt Raji will even make it to #12.

Denver can get by for a season with ILB's already on the roster, they can't at SLB.
While it may not be the long-term solution, I believe DJ Williams and Spencer Larsen could fit the bill at least for this season. Seeing I expect some type of hybrid, we could go with Dumervil, Williams, Larsen and Cushing in the 3-4; Williams, Larsen and Cushing in the 4-3; and Williams and Cushing in the nickel. Now, if Xanders, McDaniels and Nolan believe Maualuga is their guy - I've got no problem taking him. But I do believe that at least for this season, we could get by with Williams and Larsen. We don't have a guy to fill that SLB role on the roster right now. Boss Bailey has some of those skills, but he's not a natural fit and with his injury history and cap number it's doubtful he'll be back anyway. There isn't a guy on the roster with the necessary skills to play this very important position.

Outlook
I think Cushing could be an exact-model of the "New Denver Broncos-type of defender." He fits a need and can help in many different roles. If the Broncos can find a capable NT in round 2 and sign a guy like Mike Wright, they would have an immediate upgrade in both their 4-3 and 3-4 alignments.

Last edited by montrose; 02-16-2009 at 11:23 AM..
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:24 AM   #2
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Injury concerns is my only thing with Cushing.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:26 AM   #3
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Do you think 12 is a bit high for him?
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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What if DEN were able to trade back with PHIL?
#21 B.CUSHING
#28 C.MATTHEWS
#48 R.BRACE

3-4 LBs
SAM B.CUSHING
MIKE S. LARSEN
WILL DJ WILLIAMS
JACK C.MATTHEWS
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:30 AM   #5
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Cushing's peaked.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kaylore View Post
Do you think 12 is a bit high for him?
Possibly, although I've seen mocks that have him going to us at #12. If we could move down a few spots and still get him plus another pick - that'd be great. With that, Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan have been hearing that draft picks are holding an even higher value this year than normal because of the fear of the future labor deal. Obviously if there's a run on tackles in the top 10 and a lot of high value guys fall to us at #12 we could try to move back but I'd have no issue at all taking him at that spot.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:33 AM   #7
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I'd be totally ok with this if we could trade back a bit and get some value. If we pick him at #12, we may be getting a really good football player, but, at this point, it looks like we'd have left some considerable value on the table. After the combine, who knows?

Senior Bowl reports were pretty glowing about Cushing, with many saying he was the best linebacker there.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:34 AM   #8
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Cushing's peaked.
Yeah, his "peak" performance to me was the ROSE BOWL.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:35 AM   #9
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Cushing's peaked.
How so Rev? Again, I based most of what I wrote on reports so if you've seen him please elaborate. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:35 AM   #10
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Yeah, his "peak" performance to me was the ROSE BOWL.
I'm probably moving back to California at the end of this year.

In that case, you're gonna die.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:39 AM   #11
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How so Rev? Again, I based most of what I wrote on reports so if you've seen him please elaborate. Thanks in advance.
I love his tackling ability. He's got something rare there where most players go for the knockout shot, Cushing's got the discipline to break down before the ball carrier and then attack into the break.

That being said, he's not very explosive. In coverage, he's a hook zone player at best. Sure he can get coached on some little things, like throwing his elbow into his turns, but a lot of that required athleticism isn't coached.

He's a guy I'm anxious to watch at the combine where these issues and doubts I have on him can be isolated and shown. Maybe I'm wrong, we'll know next week.

First round pick, not a game changer.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:41 AM   #12
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I'm probably moving back to California at the end of this year.

In that case, you're gonna die.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:43 AM   #13
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Cushing has been at the top of my wish list all along. He's a great tackler, aggressive, and yet smart. I think the main benefit to Cushing would be that he's been Pete Carroll's field general. DJ (for one) could really use that.

Montrose, you should also be aware, there is a strong anti-USC bias among many posters on this board. Just an FYI.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montrose View Post

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfldraft/...9%26id%3d24453

I've been somewhat stuck on going with Rey Maualuga or B.J. Raji, but after doing some research on this year's crop I'm now putting my vote in for Brian Cushing as our pick at #12. Now, I have not seen any of these players actually play, and am basing much of this off the various reports I've read, so please keep that in mind. Anyhow, here's my case for "Cush":

The SLB position is a very important one in Mike Nolan's defense
Per my thread on Nolan's 30-front (http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=76570), I believe the SOLB position is the most important of the four linebacker spots in Nolan's scheme. Cushing could step right in and theoretically fill that need for years. From what I've read, he's not only a sound tackler, but very solid in coverage which is vital at the SOLB spot.

He's versatile
This is a big plus considering we're very likely looking at a hybrid system for this coming season. From what I've gathered, he's played DE, OLB and ILB but is best fit as a true SLB, a sure position of need. That versatility reminds me of Mike Vrabel, something that should speak to Josh McDaniels.

He's smart and tough
At least according to the reports I've read, he should fit right in as a McDaniels/Nolan-type defender. You can't play the number of positions he did without having a high football IQ, and the bit I've read speaks to him as a tough player who is a sound tackler who always finds himself in the right position and is an underrated pass rusher.

He's from a winning program that produces quality NFL players.
Sometimes this can be overrated, by I think it's a plus worth mentioning.

There isn't a NT worth selecting at #12
I suppose Raji could play the spot, but it's not what he does best. His build and talents don't best serve that spot. In addition, I doubt Raji will even make it to #12.

Denver can get by for a season with ILB's already on the roster, they can't at SLB.
While it may not be the long-term solution, I believe DJ Williams and Spencer Larsen could fit the bill at least for this season. Seeing I expect some type of hybrid, we could go with Dumervil, Williams, Larsen and Cushing in the 3-4; Williams, Larsen and Cushing in the 4-3; and Williams and Cushing in the nickel. Now, if Xanders, McDaniels and Nolan believe Maualuga is their guy - I've got no problem taking him. But I do believe that at least for this season, we could get by with Williams and Larsen. We don't have a guy to fill that SLB role on the roster right now. Boss Bailey has some of those skills, but he's not a natural fit and with his injury history and cap number it's doubtful he'll be back anyway. There isn't a guy on the roster with the necessary skills to play this very important position.

Outlook
I think Cushing could be an exact-model of the "New Denver Broncos-type of defender." He fits a need and can help in many different roles. If the Broncos can find a capable NT in round 2 and sign a guy like Mike Wright, they would have an immediate upgrade in both their 4-3 and 3-4 alignments.
I really like Cush.. But you have to contend with his injuries. which scare the bajesus out of me. i think one was a knee. he is defiently a guy that can play SOLB and SLB. which you are right is crucial. There is also *from what i have heard* steriod issues. true or not the broncos better check into his injury history and the steriod issue. if they check back clean i am alright with it. Normally i think you dont want to take a SLB early in the draft but in a 3-4 SOLB is a huge need which is hard to fill
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TheReverend View Post
I love his tackling ability. He's got something rare there where most players go for the knockout shot, Cushing's got the discipline to break down before the ball carrier and then attack into the break.

That being said, he's not very explosive. In coverage, he's a hook zone player at best. Sure he can get coached on some little things, like throwing his elbow into his turns, but a lot of that required athleticism isn't coached.

He's a guy I'm anxious to watch at the combine where these issues and doubts I have on him can be isolated and shown. Maybe I'm wrong, we'll know next week.

First round pick, not a game changer.
This is pretty on point with what I pictured from reading reports. I am also interested at seeing him at the combine. One difference from my reports and your post is his athleticism, I didn't find any reports calling the guy a freak - but it did make him out to be a relatively athletic dude. Hopefully Martindale's success coaching LB's in coverage, along with Phifer's knowledge of the system can help him improve his skills.

I didn't see the guy as a game changer, but someonw who could be a solid member of the unit for years to come. A safe pick if you will, as I don't think we can afford to miss on this pick. Again, I'm cool with Maulauga as well - but I think SLB is a bigger need than MLB at least for this season.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:49 AM   #16
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How so Rev? Again, I based most of what I wrote on reports so if you've seen him please elaborate. Thanks in advance.
Most scouts are saying that Cushing has reached his ceiling already and will not be any better than he is right now. It makes him safe in a way as you know what you are getting. However, you want a player that has a better ceiling in the #12 spot of the draft than what Cushing is offering there. Someone that can get to the next level as a pro and be a perennial pro bowl prospect versus just a very good Sam.

It is also a very poor value to draft a SAM that high, even in the 3-4. Lots of Athletes that can be better suited to OLB than DE in this draft and Clint Simtim or Larry English would be excellent options there much later.

Finally, he does have a huge medical rap sheet that will discourage using that high of a selection on most draft boards. The frequency of the injuries are more concerning than the type's. He plays really physically tough and leaves himself open to getting hurt.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:50 AM   #17
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This is pretty on point with what I pictured from reading reports. I am also interested at seeing him at the combine. One difference from my reports and your post is his athleticism, I didn't find any reports calling the guy a freak - but it did make him out to be a relatively athletic dude. Hopefully Martindale's success coaching LB's in coverage, along with Phifer's knowledge of the system can help him improve his skills.

I didn't see the guy as a game changer, but someonw who could be a solid member of the unit for years to come. A safe pick if you will, as I don't think we can afford to miss on this pick. Again, I'm cool with Maulauga as well - but I think SLB is a bigger need than MLB at least for this season.
I don't read reports until April, so it's all just imo.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:50 AM   #18
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What if DEN were able to trade back with PHIL?
#21 B.CUSHING
#28 C.MATTHEWS
#48 R.BRACE

3-4 LBs
SAM B.CUSHING
MIKE S. LARSEN
WILL DJ WILLIAMS
JACK C.MATTHEWS
i like Clay. I think we owe it to ourselves and doom to make sure he cant play the position. he is cheap. and if he doesnt work then we dont have to re-sign him. the Jack linebacker spot is usually pretty deep on talent in most drafts.

Also with moss that is another guy that i jsut want to see what he can do. we might have players in these two but i think we need to kick the tires on these guys before we throw em in the dumpster.

*if* we trade down. Im happy with Cush and the top rated S or best RB on the board.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:51 AM   #19
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Cushing has been at the top of my wish list all along. He's a great tackler, aggressive, and yet smart. I think the main benefit to Cushing would be that he's been Pete Carroll's field general. DJ (for one) could really use that.

Montrose, you should also be aware, there is a strong anti-USC bias among many posters on this board. Just an FYI.
As well there should be, just an FYI
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:56 AM   #20
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i like Clay. I think we owe it to ourselves and doom to make sure he cant play the position. he is cheap. and if he doesnt work then we dont have to re-sign him. the Jack linebacker spot is usually pretty deep on talent in most drafts.

Also with moss that is another guy that i jsut want to see what he can do. we might have players in these two but i think we need to kick the tires on these guys before we throw em in the dumpster.

*if* we trade down. Im happy with Cush and the top rated S or best RB on the board.
Oh thats the homer mock, man!
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:57 AM   #21
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:57 AM   #22
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I see Cushing as more of an ILB in the NFL. Move him inside with DJ, where he can call the plays and stuff the run.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:02 PM   #23
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Call me Captin Homer.

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I still think it would be kinda sweet to have two super high energy, tackling machine, motors out there on the outside making plays.
And yes, Cushing could be moved inside no problem. He is very versatile.
Mike Vrabel isnt the most athletic guy on the field, but he has good athletic ability, very smart and very versatile.
#12 is sorta the "twilight zone spot"
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:04 PM   #24
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Most scouts are saying that Cushing has reached his ceiling already and will not be any better than he is right now. It makes him safe in a way as you know what you are getting.
I think that's a reason I was drawn to him. That and the fact the SLB spot is so important in Nolan's 30-front and we don't have anyone close to playing it.

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However, you want a player that has a better ceiling in the #12 spot of the draft than what Cushing is offering there. Someone that can get to the next level as a pro and be a perennial pro bowl prospect versus just a very good Sam.
I do agree, I think I've just been a bit scared off by the huge defensive misses under the Shanhan/Goodman regime. I suppose I should have more confidence in our new leadership, I'm simply petrified at the thought that our 1st round pick will completely bust like Moss, Middlebrooks, etc.

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It is also a very poor value to draft a SAM that high, even in the 3-4. Lots of Athletes that can be better suited to OLB than DE in this draft and Clint Simtim or Larry English would be excellent options there much later.
I do agree that it's a huge reach of value, again I'm one that might want to lean towards a safer pick here. I don't think we can go wrong with either USC LB.

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Finally, he does have a huge medical rap sheet that will discourage using that high of a selection on most draft boards. The frequency of the injuries are more concerning than the type's. He plays really physically tough and leaves himself open to getting hurt.
This I was not aware of but damn I love the thought of bringing in a tough football player. It sounds to me like no one would have a problem if we could move down, pick up an extra pick and still get him but an issue of value at #12. I guess we'll have to see how the combine shakes out.

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As well there should be, just an FYI
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:05 PM   #25
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I see Cushing as more of an ILB in the NFL. Move him inside with DJ, where he can call the plays and stuff the run.
I think that is where he has the most value as well. He could play the nickel very well, better than Rey, and Blitz like a banshee. If they envision him as an ILB in a 3-4 I would be less opposed to selecting him there, but his injury history really needs to be checked thoroughly.
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