Aug 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (51) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Posluszny, Middle Linebacker
It’s tough to say it, but “Poz” needs to be on this list. Entering his fifth season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Posluszny is the definitive leader of the Jaguars’ defense. Unfortunately, he may be passed up by his younger peers after his 2014 season was cut short with a pectoral tear. He finished 2014 with just seven games played.
Ranked 19th among inside linebackers in the league at tackling efficiency by Pro Football Focus (with 25% of defensive snaps or more), Posluszny can still put on a tackling clinic. While he didn’t get above 100 combined tackles for the first time in six seasons and above 100 solo tackles for the first time in two seasons, he should be able to return to form for 2015. He was in the top 10 of PFF’s inside linebacker tackling efficiency in 2013, 2012, and 2011 (third) so expect 2015 to simply be a fluke for his career.
Still, the concern is there that Poz could be an aging part of younger, better oiled machine. Guys like Telvin Smith excelled at times last season and will be looking to push the veterans above them for more snaps throughout the season.
While I believe the Posluszny still has the talent and ability to do the role required of him, he’ll have to prove he can still hang with the young guys on a team that seemingly keeps getting younger. He’s done a great job in the half of his career he has spent in Jacksonville and it would be a shame to see him passed up after so many quality seasons with the Jags, especially since he still defines the spirit and drive that the team has come to expect from its players.
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