Our second interview this morning comes by way of Mike, the fabulous Penn State writer over at Black Shoe Diaries, SB Nation's PSU blog. The obvious topic of discussion? Bills rookie linebacker Paul Posluszny. Here are Mike's thoughts on Posluszny and how he fits in Buffalo:
Buffalo Rumblings: What are your thoughts on Posluszny's injuries? Have they affected his pre-draft workouts and do you see them being a problem heading into his rookie season?
Black Shoe Diaries: His knee injury was a partial tear of the knee ligaments. No surgery was required, just extensive rehab. Amazingly he was ready in time for the season opener in 2006. He played with a really bulky brace which definitely slowed him down, particularly in his lateral movement. By midseason he went to a smaller knee brace that allowed him to move more freely. That was when he started looking like the Poz of old again. He played an entire season without reinjuring the knee. Every NFL team doctor examined the knee very closely including dozens of MRI's. He tested about as well as everyone expected he would at the combine and in workouts. I would say the knee is not a concern going forward.
BR: We run a Cover-2 defense, so speed, athleticism and especially coverage skills are huge needs in our linebackers. How do you see Posluszny fitting in as a coverage linebacker? Is he athletic enough to succeed in this type of defense, or would he have been better off in a different scheme?
Black Shoe Diaries: Penn State plays a lot of Cover-2 and Cover-3 where the linebackers mostly drop back in zone coverage. This is what he's used to. He wasn't great in coverage in college. In fact, teams often picked on him in the passing game. He gave up a lot of six and seven yard passes, but he dropped the guy in the spot the ball was caught every time. Occassionally he had to play man-to-man on a tight end or running back. Good tight ends made him look pretty silly in the passing game. I think he's capable of being a good pass coverage linebacker. He has great instincts, a tremendous work ethic, and a high football IQ. He just wasn't asked to do it much in college. With proper coaching he'll pick it up quickly.
BR: Poz played both inside and outside in college. Where do you see him fitting better in Buffalo? We have Angelo Crowell who can play both inside and outside, so what is the best position for Poz since we're so flexible?
Black Shoe Diaries: He could play either, but outside linebacker is his more natural position. I thought Poz showed much greater play making ability on the outside than he did on the inside. He's a natural run stopper and a great blitzer. He reads plays well and closes on the ball fast taking the proper angle every time. But he's the type of player that needs some space to move. Sometimes he gets caught in traffic and has a tough time shedding blocks. This was particularly evident when he played in the middle during his senior year. But keep in mind he had never played in the middle before, and he sat out all of spring practice during his rehab. Basically he only had three weeks of practice at the position before the season started.
Buffalo got a great player in Poz, and a steal in the second round if you ask me. I think you'll find he reminds you a lot of Shane Conlan, the last great Penn State linebacker to play for the Bills.
Once again, fantastic information about our new favorite linebacker, Poz! A big thanks goes out to Mike at BSD - this information is invaluable and gets Bills fans even more excited about our new 'backer! Head on over to Mike's site to thank him yourself personally!
With that, we're a half hour away from the beginning of Day 2. Full coverage will begin with the Bills' first pick today, #111 overall. Go Bills!