6'4, 255 pounds | Southern California | Outside linebacker
Strengths: Incredible instincts. Very quick off the snap. Locates and runs down the ball faster than just about any strong-side linebacker in the nation. Does a good job getting low around the corner. Has good straight-line speed. Gets to his top gear quickly. Can get reckless and needs to be more controlled with his speed. A violent tackler. Wraps up and drives through the ball carrier. Hits hard enough knock the ball loose. Does a good job of just avoiding and running around blocks, but he exposes his legs too much. Good, solid build
Weaknesses: Mostly uses his speed and athleticism as a pass rusher. Still developing moves. Rushing around the outside is his best pass rush skill. Can have trouble changing direction. Will sometimes get too excited and run himself out of a play. Struggles at times in pass coverage and will sometimes be taken off the field when he's not asked to rush the quarterback on passing downs. Has shown the ability to run with tight ends and break up passes, but he can improve in coverage. Has a long injury list.
Final word: When he plays, Cushing is an impressive strong-side linebacker who is fast, athletic and tenacious. However, injuries have slowed him greatly throughout his career. Cushing could easily play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. Known to spend a lot of money on supplements and may have a maxed out frame.
Had a sprained wrist during spring 2008 camp. Had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle prior to 2008 spring practice. Missed three games in 2007 because of a sprained left ankle. Missed most of spring of 2007 because of a hamstring strain. Had arthroscopic knee surgery following '07 camp. Missed five games in 2005 due to a dislocated shoulder, which required surgery.
Round projection: 1