Pros: Is a good pursuit player that is comfortable moving in space. Does a good job on his zone drops and shows good awareness in zone coverage. Plays bigger at the point of attack than you would expect. Is a nice tackler.
Cons: Lacks pop as a tackler and is undersized. Needs to improve at the point of attack. Occasionally gets caught out of position in coverage as he can be caught looking in the backfield.
Overview: He was the successor to Keith Rivers on the weakside, and was overshadowed by the other linebackers at USC, but he is a steady player. His uncle is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and he is related to about a million other former wrestling superstars.
NFL Forecast: Maiava fits best in a Tampa-2 scheme. There he he has the potential to play multiple positions in the 4-3. But probably in most 4-3 schemes, he'll play on the weakside. He needs to get bigger and stronger and be better against the run. He'll probably be a better NFL player than he was in college as he sat the bench for three years. He's not going to be a playmaker but down the road has the potential to develop into a decent starter, depending on the scheme. I'd be much more confident in his future as a starter if a team like the Colts, Bears, or Bucs draft him. But either way that's down the line. More than likely his impact will come on special teams and potentially as nickel linebacker.
ATL Forecast: Maiava adds depth at weakside linebacker for the Falcons. He probably won't be a starter for the teams, but does offer some upside worth developing. After all he did go to USC, so we know he's a good athlete, and considering how much he was overshadowed in school, you imagine he has to be pretty hungry. Could make the Falcons roster as a rookie and help out on special teams. And then three or so years down the line could be a serviceable starter. Probably not going to be a fixture at the position, but could be a nice stopgap for a year or two.
Value: He's a nice late round pick. A Tampa-2 team might take him late in the fifth, but most other teams should wait until Round Six.
Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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