Patriots Draft Prospects: Brian Cushing, LB, USC

Sean Crowe@CroweKnowsSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2009

Previous Prospects:
D.J. Moore, CB/KR/WR, Vanderbilt
Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

Brian Cushing, LB, USC

Height: 6-3 Weight: 255
Age: 22 Class: Senior

The Good:

In many ways, Brian Cushing is the perfect outside linebacker.

His combination of size, speed, and athleticism is unique. He has the ability to physically dominate offensive linemen just as easily as he can blow right by them. He has all the tools required to cover tight ends, and he’s fast enough to cover some wide receivers.

He’s versatile, which is something we know the Patriots love. He has experience at defensive end and linebacker.

He can be a run stopper, a pass rusher, and he can drop into coverage.

Like I said, in many ways, Cushing is the perfect outside linebacker.

The Bad:

Durability is a problem.

As dominant as he can be, there is some question as to whether or not he can hold up through a long NFL season.

He’s really only had one completely healthy year in college.

While he’s played pretty well when not 100 percent healthy, that’s not as easy to do in the NFL.

If he’s going to be an impact player on Sunday, he needs to PLAY every Sunday.

The Verdict:

The Patriots could do worse than Cushing, that’s for sure.

He’s slated to go right around where the Patriots are picking at 23. As a matter of fact, there are a ton of mock drafts out there that have him landing in New England.

If he can stay healthy, he’s a perfect fit. The Patriots are really, really old at the outside linebacker position. They also lack a consistent pass rush. Cushing would bring youth and pass rushing ability.

As long as he can stay healthy…

This article originally appeared on the New England Patriots Examiner page. To read more articles like this one, check them out here.

Sean Crowe covers the New England Patriots for and writes a bi-weekly column for

He is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at