Keep an eye on Maualuga

February, 22, 2009
2/22/09
3:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Could USC linebacker Rey Maualuga be a good fit in the AFC North?
 
Maualuga thinks so, mainly because he believes he could play well in a 3-4 defense.
 

 
  Jeff Golden/Getty Images
  Rey Maualuga isn't concerned whether the team which drafts him runs a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense.
"It really don't matter to me," Maualuga said at the NFL combine when asked about the 3-4 scheme. "I played the whole season with a hybrid, Clay Matthews, being a standup outside linebacker and a hand-down defensive end. So I'm familiar with both schemes. So whichever team I get picked to go to, whether it's a 4-3 or 3-4, I think I will fit in really well."

This could be music to the ears of three teams in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers all run a 3-4 defense.

Maualuga recorded 79 tackles and two interceptions in 2008. The hard-hitting linebacker also said he wouldn't mind being reunited with former teammate Keith Rivers, now a linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"He's a great guy, a guy I do see myself playing alongside," Maualuga said.

The Rivers-Maualuga duo played three years together in college and dominated the Pac-10.

The Bengals, who play a 4-3, have other needs to address with the No. 6 pick. But adding another linebacker at some point to an improving defense wouldn't be a bad idea.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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