Find me a great linebacker and I’ll show you one smart football player, no qualification necessary.
Off-ball linebackers are the only players on defense with true run-pass conflicts on every snap. They need to be able to read and process their keys quickly to get a beat on what the offense is doing and then make their break in a split second. Hesitate for a moment and a guard will envelop you downfield or a tight-end will come streaking by you. Quick diagnosis is the key and can be that razor-thin difference between a tackle for loss and an explosive play. Smart linebackers can thrive deep into their 30’s as their processing speed can make up for whatever athleticism father time has sapped away. Paul Posluszny is one of those guys.
Posluszny might not fit the prototype, but he’s good enough that you can’t help but not replace him. He quietly kept highly-touted Myles Jack off the field all of 2016. The Jaguars played Posluszny as their MIKE backer in base personnel in a 4-3, Cover 3 foundation defense. He carried running backs in Mmn and was frequently asked to drop with good depth in zone. He has below average height with a stout frame and adequate athletic ability with good burst and balance, solid change of direction, adequate explosion and fluidity, and marginal quickness.
|Prospect (Last, First)
|Scout Name (Last, First)
|INJURIES||2016-2017 –No injuries
2015-Broken Right Hand(WK14, 1 Game), Ankle(1 Game, WK7)
2014-Pectoral(9 Games, Placed on IR WK8)
2013-Concussion(1 Game, WK11)
2011-2012-No Games Missed, Shoulder Labrum Tear in January 2012
2010-MCL Sprain(2 Games, WK2-3)
2009-Forearm Fracture(4 Games, WK2-5)
2008-No Games Missed
2007-Forearm Fracture(13 Games, Placed on IR)
|KEY STATS||2017 –478 Snaps, 42 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks
2016-PFF 2nd Team All-Pro, 1 INT, 95 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, 1057 Snaps
|Height||Weight||40 YD||10 YD||Arm||Hand||Vert||3Cone||SS||Broad||Bench|
Despite lacking the luster of some of their stars, Posluszny is the clear alpha dog of their defense. He’s an active communicator before the snap that uses a variety of hand signals and gets guys into the right assignment. He’s quick to key through the backfield to the guards and fullbacks to fill all gaps quickly and rarely bites on zone read or misdirection. He can easily snuff out and blow up screens.
When he’s the aggressor, Posluszny is a formidable player at the point of attack. Against solid lineman, he lowers his shoulder to stack and shed against inside runs. He shoots long arms into true blocking tight end’s chests to dictate with the strength to bench press or shed when the ball carrier nears. On outside zone plays, he flashes the ability to anticipate and shoot through the line of scrimmage to make tackles behind the line. He can shoot his hands and maintain placement on the run to defeat reach blocks.
In zone, he can achieve proper depth quickly with his eyes to the quarterback and doesn’t chase routes out of his area. He’s a physical player that throws a nasty jam in catch man to blow up mesh concepts. In man, he takes good angles to his assignment and can mirror less agile players downfield.
Posluszny is a sure and strong tackler that drives into the front hip to bring down tough ball carriers. He conceals blitzes well and flies downhill with the want-to to finish on the quarterback. He’s a relentless competitor that recovers quickly from mistakes, hustles sideline to sideline, and tries to make blocks when his teammates make highlight-reel interceptions.
Posluszny will occasionally hesitate on outside run plays and take false steps when his keys are unclear. When that happens, he’ll get driven downfield by lineman or tight ends when he’s late into contact and loses his chest. He doesn’t have a great feel for spacing on outside runs and lacks the foot speed to make up for it; he plays slower than the 4.70 he ran a decade ago.
He lacks a great feel for route recognition in zone coverage. Posluszny is often late to break on underneath routes and doesn’t have that sixth sense to process routes developing behind him. In man, he doesn’t read the receiver’s body language well, causing him to have below average route anticipation. He lacks the overall athletic ability to stay with receiving backs in space. When the ball is in the air, Posluszny struggles to time his jumps make deflections.
Posluszny is exactly the kind of player that coaches love and scouts love to replace. Even heading into his mid 30’s, he’s a heady player with the aggression and motor to be a steady starter as a MIKE linebacker. He’d be a nice fit as a two-down player in a defense that asks him to play stout against inside runs and take on less athletic backs in man. He can offer 3rd down value as a pure blitzer. Posluszny would be a good buy on a short term, mid-money deal.
Grade: 6.00 (Starter You Can Win With)