Posted May 08, 2012

Boom or Bust: Should the Texans count on DeVier Posey?

Boom or Bust, Houston Texans

DeVier Posey has a lot of talent, but some head-scratching flaws as well. (Getty Images)

In the Seinfeld episode “The Soul Mate,” George tries to prove that there’s a massive conspiracy against him at his deceased wife’s charitable foundation. At one point, he gives an enthusiastic speech to Jerry about the situation and closes by stating, “That’s what we know.”

Jerry replies, “But we already knew that!”

And that, in a nutshell, is where we are with DeVier Posey. You want to study his game, learn what type of player he is? Well, then you may as well pull out the film from 2009 or ’10, or check out what people had to say when it looked like he might enter the supplemental draft last summer.

We really don’t have any new information regarding Posey as a player, since he was suspended for the first 10 games of his senior season because of his involvement in the Ohio State off-field scandal that took down Jim Tressel.

Upon his return to the lineup in 2011, Posey caught 12 passes in three games.

So, we have to dip a little deeper into the tape to find out what the Houston Texans added with the 68th pick in the draft. The Texans needed to find some depth at wide receiver, especially after stumbling without Andre Johnson in the lineup last season.

Is Posey capable of being a go-to guy for the Texans? It might be awhile until there’s an answer.

Even in diving back to Posey’s previous seasons, it’s important to remember that he had Terrelle Pryor throwing to him, so his numbers (6o catches in 2009, 53 in 2010) certainly were not aided by that fact.

There’s a pretty wide variance in Posey’s game, too, with a lot of good mingling with some obvious bad to create an uncertain picture. We’ll open on the glass half-full side of things …

The 6-foot-2, 211-pound Posey has a high quota of playmaking ability and, if he’s single-covered while teams pay attention to Johnson, looks like he can find some seams. The play below comes from Ohio State’s win over Miami in 2010, with Pryor at QB.

Posey ran a pretty simple corner route, but in the process managed to both beat the press coverage on the line and accelerate into space beyond the deep safety.

Pryor’s pass hit him in stride for a huge gain.

While some scouts knocked Posey for his route-running, one thing that he does seem to possess is a good feel for the game. That’s one area where playing alongside Pryor may have aided Posey — Pryor’s improvisation in the backfield meant receivers often had to break off from their routes to get open. Posey did this well, as evidenced by the play below, also from the Miami game.

Posey was supposed run a quick crossing pattern, but as Pryor slid out of the pocket to his right, Posey kept coming across the field with him and kept his eyes locked on his quarterback. Eventually, Pryor found him open down the middle and hit him for a big gain.

Pryor also shows well on film tracking the football — case in point, this touchdown against Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. Posey wound up racing downfield with safety Tramain Thomas. The pass from Pryor was underthrown, but as you can see in the photo below, Posey adjusted to the ball and altered his path.

The result was a tumbling touchdown — Posey made a grab over his outside shoulder, while Thomas flailed to try to bat the ball down.

Good body control, the ability to get deep, big-play potential … all good so far.

Now, the not-so-good.

Aside from any red flags that come with being part of Ohio State’s scandal, Posey has some moments on his film that will make you scratch your head. Back to the Sugar Bowl for an example:

It’s a good start to the play, with Posey beating tight coverage at the line and getting inside the corner covering him. However, that corner had deep safety help, which means Posey and Pryor had to run everything to perfection to complete a slant pattern.

That’s not quite what happened.

Posey’s there with space, but Pryor’s throw sailed a bit. Worse yet, for our specific study, Posey short-armed his catch attempt, no doubt hearing the footsteps from the closing safety.

That’s an issue that comes up again and again with Posey. He’ll go over the middle, he might even make some catches in traffic — he scored against Indiana in 2009 on a play similar to this one, where he plucked the ball and secured it before being rocked at the goal line. But he’ll drop some passes that he shouldn’t and he will shy from contact at times.

There were two examples of that from Ohio State’s 2010 opener against Marshall. Posey scored twice in that game, so this all emphasizes his up-and-down performances. In the second quarter, on a deep ball from Pryor, Posey kept floating long, allowing Marshall’s safety to slip underneath him and bat a pass away. Then, to open the fourth, Posey sat down against zone coverage and Pryor hit him in the numbers — Posey flat-out dropped it.

Houston will hope for more consistency from Posey as an NFL rookie. Will the Texans get it?

Best-case scenario: Posey quickly becomes a fixture in the lineup, at least as the team’s No. 3 receiver behind Johnson and Kevin Walter. He manages to get deep on a regular basis but also flashes an improved ability to go over the middle. He takes full advantage of single coverage to deliver a host of big plays for the Texans.

Worst-case scenario: The negatives from Posey’s college tape turn out to be the whole truth on his NFL career. He shies from hits over the middle and shows a lack of a second gear while trying to go long. A few drops early in the season wreck his confidence, and the team’s confidence in him.

2012 prediction: “Boom or Bust” might be the most apt description for Posey’s rookie potential. Given that he only played three games in 2011 and that he has a decent amount to work on, it’s not out of the question that he struggles mightily in 2012. The call: Posey loses out as the No. 3 receiver to Lestar Jean, yet still works his way onto the field for a few snaps a game. Something like Vincent Brown’s rookie year in San Diego may be comparable — 19 catches, 329 yards, two touchdowns, a few big plays and substantial improvement late in the season.

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