Recently, we took a close look at Penn State’s potential depth charts heading into 2018 for both offense and defense. Not only is it a fun exercise to pass time during the long offseason, it helps us gain clarity on Penn State’s strengths and weaknesses moving forward, as well as a better understanding of how the team will replace key departures such as Saquon Barkley, Marcus Allen and Mike Gesicki, among several others.
So let’s kick off this week with a fun exercise- if you could add one former Nittany Lion (in their prime) to play for Penn State in 2018, who would you pick?
As I put the defensive depth chart together, I nearly went into panic mode when looking through the linebacker position. The obvious question mark for the team heading into 2018 is the play of the linebackers, with just one returning starter in Koa Farmer. If Penn State wants to avoid taking a major step back on defense this fall, they will need some major production out of a few unknown commodities- and will likely need to rely on a starting middle linebacker who will be in their first year of eligibility.
While there are many greats from the storied history of Linebacker U., my selection would be Paul Posluszny who is still kicking it in the NFL (although the free agent seems likely to be with another team besides Jacksonville in the fall). Poz helped Penn State to a remarkable turnaround in 2005, when the team won a Big Ten Championship and finish #3 in the polls after being picked to finish dead last in the conference. He remains one of the most decorated players in Penn State history, becoming just the second college football player ever to win the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player twice, as well as being a two-time first-team All-American.
Posluszny would be a perfect fit for 2018. The two-time captain was the ultimate leader, and would provide much needed group to an inexperienced linebacker unit that has plenty of raw potential. He had the ability to play inside or slide outside, and could be plugged in wherever needed the most. He also had incredible closing speed that could help mask deficiencies of inexperienced linebackers and safeties. Lastly, he could get in a quarterbacks face in a hurry, something that was lacking too often this past season.
So what say you, BSD reader? Which former Nittany Lion would you most like to add to the 2018 squad?