Pittsburgh notebook: Saturday edition

INDIANAPOLIS – Even though Paul Posluszny struggled to recover from a knee injury, and was slow to adapt to a position change, he's convinced that coming back for his season turned out to be in his best interest.

Wex's notebook
  • Friday edition
  • "I think it's two different worlds," he said. "Last year if I would have come out as a junior … I was a little young and little light so I think it's a lot better that I'm here as a senior."

    Posluszny is here (6-1, 238) and ready to prove the doubters (such as the person who wrote the first paragraph of this story) that he's a bona fide NFL linebacking prospect. Jack Ham said as much during the season when he called Posluszny the best linebacker to have ever played at Penn State.

    "I was in shock," Posluszny said. "But I was extremely honored."

    Does he agree with Ham?

    "No, I don't," he said. "Jack Ham, Shane Conlan, LaVar Arrington; it's a long list."

    Should Posluszny be the first linebacker taken in this draft?

    "I think I should definitely be one of them," he said. "I feel pretty confident about that."

    Inside or outside? 3-4 or 4-3?

    "It doesn't matter to me, depending on the scheme and wherever I fit best," he said.

    Veteran scout Tom Marino ranks Posluszny as the 25th best athlete in the draft and considers him a weakside outside backer in a 4-3. It's a fall for Posluszny, who was considered a high first-rounder last season before his knee injury and the position switch from outside in a 4-3 to inside in a 3-4.

    "I thought we handled it pretty well," Posluszny said of the change. "One guy that had a huge change was Tim Shaw, our middle linebacker from two years ago. He played D-end and did a great job with that, and that was a difficult change for him. For me personally, as the season went on, I felt more and more comfortable. I started off a little slow with it but as I got more experience with it I felt a lot more comfortable."

    Posluszny will show scouts just how comfortable he is when he runs his 40 and completes the rest of his drills here on Monday.

    BLADES FAMILY FOOTBALL

    Pitt linebacker H.B. Blades wishes he had Posluszny's problems. Blades checked in at 5-foot-10, 236 pounds and scouts don't expect much from his 40 time. Blades is considered a second-day prospect because of his lack of height and speed, but he has one thing going for him: family genes.

    Blades, of course, is the son of former NFL player Bennie Blades and the nephew of former NFL player Brian Blades, but neither had the impact that his late Uncle Al had on him.

    "He died in a car accident (March, 2003) right before I went to the University of Pittsburgh," said Blades. "He's actually the only one in my family that told me to leave (Florida). He supported me in everything I did in life and his memory is still with me. I thought it was a sign of good luck when I came (to the scouting combine) with the number seven. I was like, ‘He's taking care of me right now,' because that's the number he wore in college, so I know he's looking down on me right now."

    Why did his uncle tell him to leave Florida?

    "Just so I could start a legacy of my own. It was hard for him down at the University of Miami playing safety after my dad was down there. It was kind of hard for him, so he wanted me to leave to make a name for myself and that was my goal to try to be the best linebacker at the university I attended."

    ASK THE WHIS

    It's still the question everyone wants Ken Whisenhunt to answer: Was the accident solely responsible for Ben Roethlisberger's poor season?

    "When we started the season, even in training camp, it didn't seem like it would have an effect," Whisenhunt said. "But at the end and when you look at it again, I am convinced it did. Not because of his health, he is a tough kid and he did a good job coming back and being prepared. But from the standpoint of being in the pocket and facing the rush, certainly there was some trauma with him that maybe we all underestimated and I think it took him longer to get over that than we all thought. Because of the way we interacted with him in training camp, on the practice field, we had the tendency to think he was fine and ready to go. Early in the season, you could tell he wasn't as comfortable as he was in the past, and I am convinced that was the result of things that happened in the off-season."


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