With the menacing tattoos of Samoan decent, the flowing locks of black flame, and the reckless abandon he plays with, it's hard not to appreciate Rey Maualuga's approach to the game, especially from a fan's perspective. While playing for the University of Southern California, Maualuga echoed the spirit of former Trojan great Junior Seau. But unlike Seau, Maualuga doesn't play for San Diego, and a major reason why is that the coaches here saw flaws in Rey's game that they think will keep him from becoming an elite player unless corrected:
Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera recently interviewed with XX1090 and basically said he thought Maualuga is a solid prospect, but not great. Filled with potential, Maualuga won't fully realize his capabilities unless he makes some changes to his ability to read plays and not over pursue.
"I think Rey's an explosive, dynamic inside linebacker. I think he's going to be a solid football player in this league. He's a guy that has some ability, he's a high impact player. In the same respect, when you watch some of his tapes, there's some flaw to his game. Those things have to be worked out before you can say he's going to be an elite player in this league."
"He tended to over-run plays. He tended to miss plays because he was trying to make plays. He got himself out of position. A couple of times, if it wasn't for the guys around him, some of those things could have been worse. They could have given up a few more big plays."
Is there truth to what Coach Rivera is saying? Was Rey Maualuga protected by all the talent around him? Did he freelance too much? There had to be a reason that 31 NFL teams passed on Maualuga, right? Or was he truly the second coming of Junior Seau and did the San Diego Chargers make a huge mistake by passing on another great Polynesian from USC?
(side note: yes I know there are 32 pro teams, but the Dallas Cowboys didn't have a first or second right pick)
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