Dolphins targeting Rey Maualuga?

According to the Palm Beach Post, the Dolphins have set their targets on USC middle linebacker Rey Maualuga in the first round.

Rey MaualugaUSC inside linebacker Rey Maualuga, the 2008 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, is projected by many draftniks to be selected in the late teens, at worst. But even if he doesn’t fall to the mid-20s, Bill Parcells and Co. might consider moving up to grab him.

Maualuga will be visiting South Florida Tuesday so the Dolphins can get to know him better, according to an NFL source.

One NFL insider believes Maualuga, an unrelenting linebacker in the mold of former Trojan Junior Seau, is the Dolphins’ target during the first round of April 25-26 draft.

But ask 10 experts who Parcells and Jeff Ireland covet with pick No. 25 and you might get more than a half-dozen different answers … Illinois CB Vontae Davis, North Carolina WR Hakeem Nicks, USC LB Clay Matthews, Connecticut CB Darius Butler, Northern Illinois’ Larry English and so on.

Maualuga doesn’t seem to fit the team’s most acute needs, cornerback or wide receiver. He isn’t the big outside linebacker with pass-rushing skills who could give Joey Porter some help – especially given Cameron Wake could need a good bit of time to adjust from the CFL to the NFL – and maybe eventually replace Porter, 32.

But Maualuga could be the kind of big (6-2, 255), physical linebacker Parcells won’t be able to pass up, considering his eye for game-changing players at the position.

Prospects slip all the time in the first round, but I highly doubt Maualuga falls to No. 25, meaning the Dolphins would definitely have to move up to get him. I have a hard time believing that the Lions would pass on him at No. 20.

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