NFL scouts have moved Alabama's Andre Smith down their lists because of off-field issues. But at the end of the day, is he still the best tackle available in the draft? Our experts reveal whom they would pick as the best player at each position.[details]
The Good: A tough, hard-hitting linebacker with good initial burst and read-and-react ability off the snap. Shows good power on contact and is at his best attacking downhill and making his way toward the ball. Does a nice job getting under blockers and has the power to hold the point of attack and get off blocks. Displays impressive closing speed toward the ball on the perimeter. Is effective as a blitzer and does a great job timing the snap count and getting after the QB. The Bad: Is very aggressive in all areas of the game and at times will take bad angles toward the ball or run himself out of plays. Needs to do a better job wrapping up on contact and not simply going for the knockout punch. Has some much noted character concerns going back to his freshman year.
Positives: Thickly built with bulk strength. Physical. Plays with a warrior's mentality. Very, very strong at the point of attack. Punishing hitter. Strikes with violence and hits with thunder. Steps downhill fast. Keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Uses his hands well to shed. Bends at the knees and moves well for his size. Can shuffle and slide. Keeps the huddle loose. Enjoys playing the game and it shows. Well-respected team leader. Negatives: Takes some bad pursuit angles and is a step slow to the perimeter. Instincts are improving but not great - takes false steps and gets caught guessing. Can be overly aggressive, overrun plays and be fooled by misdirection. Is tight in the hips and can be exposed as a tackler in space. Victimized by quicker backs. Lacks lateral agility and is not fluid dropping in coverage. Struggles to run with tight ends down the field. Has not maintained a consistent playing weight - pushed 270 pounds in the 2008 Rose Bowl and his weight has fluctuated. A lot of his production comes laterally instead of downhill. Character has been an issue. Summary: Endured a tumultuous period of his life while at USC and is said to have matured after losing his father as a freshman. Always will hover the line of getting in trouble but loves football too much to let it be stripped away - his identity is tied to the game. Would be best in a strong locker room where teammates hold him accountable. Was one of the most intimidating players in the college ranks and has drawn comparisons to Junior Seau. A true "Mike" linebacker, Maualuga can step into the center of a LB corps immediately and infuse a defense with a physical presence. Grade: First-round talent.