LOS ANGELES — The group of USC linebackers who worked out at the school’s pro day on Wednesday includes three likely first-round draft choices, and a possible fourth. An impressive group to say the least.
For Rey Maualuga, it was a chance to show teams what he wasn’t able to show them during February’s NFL Scouting Combine. Maualuga injured his right hamstring during his first run in Indianapolis, missing out on most of the testing and all of the position drills. While he admitted his injured right hamstring isn’t yet 100 percent, but “close to it,” Maualuga went through all of the testing and position drills for the 30 NFL teams in attendance.
“I just felt that out of all the other linebackers, I had the most to prove,” said Maualuga. “The other guys were all at the combine and did a great job and had tremendous times. All I did was the 40. I couldn’t stand there and watch the other guys compete, so I went home to the hotel and just started treatment on my leg. This whole month, I had to prepare myself to come out here and be at the same level as the rest of these guys.”
Maualuga, who wasn’t among the initial group of eight Trojans to run their 40 at the beginning of the workouts, went through position drills along with fellow linebackers Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews and Kaluka Maiava. After leaving to attend to a nagging blister on his foot, he returned to run a solo 40 run that clocked in at 4.7 according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. He was clocked at 4.83 at the Combine.
“I just came out and did everything to the best of my abilities,” Maualuga said. “Am I satisfied with my performance? Yes. If I didn’t give it everything that I had, then what’s the point of being out here?”
Maualuga said he has a visit scheduled with the Falcons on Saturday and seven visits with teams between now and April 20th.
“His play shows up on tape,” said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. “It’s good to get the measureables and see a guy run a 40 and actually see him do workout stuff. But when you talk about a middle linebacker, what you think is going to be more important is the way he plays on tape, not the way he works out. It’s a tough game for tough people, it’s played with pads. I think that’s most important.”
Based on unofficial times, here are the 40 numbers for the rest of the group: Cushing (4.68), Matthews (4.57), Maiava (4.68), S Kevin Ellison (4.70), CB Cary Harris (4.89), WR Patrick Turner (4.63) and DE Kyle Moore (4.76). QB Mark Sanchez chose not to run the 40, standing on his 4.88 time at the combine.