The return of Posluszny solidifies starting LB corps (Photo Source)
Prior to the 2008 NFL Draft - in fact, prior to the free agent signing period of this past March - we took a look at the Buffalo Bills' roster position by position, breaking down then-current personnel, finding holes, and building our community needs list.
Now that free agency and the Draft have been completed, and the Bills have infused their roster with new talent, it's time to repeat our process. Where has Buffalo gotten better? Where have they gotten worse? How will additions impact which Bills veterans remain on the roster? These are questions that we've been attempting to answer for the past week or so, and will continue to do so.
We continue those discussions today with an examination of Buffalo's inside linebackers. To view our previous discussions on Buffalo's ILB situation (pre-off-season), bang it here.
Paul Posluszny: If Trent Edwards is the big question mark of the offense, then his fellow second-year starter, Paul Posluszny, is the big defensive question mark. Posluszny racked up 25 tackles in 10 quarters (two and a half games) of play last season before an arm injury landed him on IR; at that pace, he would have finished '07 with 160 total stops. However, the Bills are placing a lot of responsibility on a player who has very little starting experience at the NFL level. John DiGiorgio may be nipping far more closely at Posluszny's heels than most Bills fans realize.
John DiGiorgio: For a second-year former undrafted free agent out of Saginaw Valley State, DiGiorgio enjoyed a pretty darned successful 2007 campaign. After taking over starting inside duties from Posluszny, DiGiorgio tallied 112 stops, two sacks, an interception and two fumble recoveries. He's not an overwhelming athlete, but he's a gamer that plays hard (and with surprisingly good leverage) and seems to be around the ball a majority of the time. In an ideal role, DiGiorgio would serve as the team's backup and could also be a special teams captain. He's got long-term potential on this roster.
Blake Costanzo: Another former undrafted free agent, Costanzo is entering his third year in the league. Costanzo was signed to Buffalo's practice squad this past October, promoted to the active roster in December, and tallied seven special teams tackles in the final three games of the season. Costanzo has a very legitimate chance at sticking on the roster because of his special teams ability, but he's not as athletic as some of the younger outside linebackers on Buffalo's roster. He's definitely a guy to keep an eye on during the pre-season.
The Additions: None.
The Subtractions: None.
Pre-Season Outlook: Not much has changed here. The Bills still have good depth at the inside linebacker position, but it's also very inexperienced depth. Posluszny appears to be the main horse, and he'll start the 2008 season, but don't be shocked to see DiGiorgio heavily involved in certain defensive packages as well. Both linebackers have proved to be highly productive when on the field in their short careers, so not only will this be an intense and intriguing training camp battle to watch, but it will be interesting to see how each players is utilized in training camp as well.
As always, your thoughts and opinions on this analysis are welcome in the comments section.