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USC's Maualuga, Cushing and Matthews grace Sports Illustrated cover

April 21, 2009 | 10:18 am

SI Band of Bros With the NFL draft coming up on Saturday, USC linebackers Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews are coverboys for this week's issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

All three are regarded as potential first-round draft picks.

According to Peter King's mock draft, former Trojans quarterback Mark Sanchez will be selected fourth by the Seattle Seahawks, Cushing will be chosen 15th by the Houston Texans, Matthews will go 25th to the Miami Dolphins and Maualuga will be taken 26th by the Baltimore Ravens.

Four USC players were selected in the first round of the 2008 draft: nose tackle Sedrick Ellis (7th, New Orelans Saints); linebacker Keith Rivers (9th, Cincinnati Bengals); offensive tackle Sam Baker (21st, Atlanta Falcons); and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (28th, Seahawks).

-- Gary Klein