Oct 6, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (10) celebrates in the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier Selected By Pittsburgh Steelers 15th overall


The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to drafting successfully over the course of the past few years.

Kevin Colbert and his staff, after drafting Jarvis Jones and Le’Veon Bell in the top two rounds last season, have the opportunity to continue to lay the foundation for the future with a successful beginning to the 2014 NFL Draft.

This year’s first-round pick has a chance to be successful right off the bat as the Steelers have so many needs to fill most notably in the secondary and at wide receiver.

With that being said, Colbert and company decided to throw a curveball and select Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier 15th overall.

The draft couldn’t have fallen any better for the Steelers as Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard was surprisingly still on the board, with Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller going the pick prior to the Chicago Bears.

The Steelers didn’t take much time off the clock before turning in their pick, which suggests that they love Shazier and were thrilled to see he was still available.

The only question is whether he is an inside or outside linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 scheme? Though a surprise, Shazier fills a need as the Steelers badly need depth at the outside linebacker spot.

The drafting of Shazier likely also means that the Steelers likely won’t commit to Jason Worilds long-term as Worilds will be a free agent after the season, after the Steelers placed the transition tag on him this offseason.

As for Shazier, he’s a player and has a great motor. The Ohio State product always seems like the fastest player on the field going after the ball when looking at his film and is tremendous coming off the edge.

Speed is his biggest asset as Shazier has been called by some the fastest linebacker to enter the NFL since Brian Urlacher. Shazier doesn’t possess ideal size for the position but does have very good speed and sideline-to-sideline range against the run.

During his three years at Ohio State, Shazier was comfortable playing both inside linebacker and outside linebacker and does show versatility that could lead him competing for playing time this season.

Shazier had impressive workouts in the draft lead up, running a ridiculous 4.36 40-yard dash time to go with a 42-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot-10-inch broad jump.

Regardless though, this pick is a head scratcher at best as if that was the plan all along, the Steelers definitely could have moved down in the draft to get Shazier or a comparable linebacker.

Shazier is a tremendous athlete with upside, but not a value pick there at No. 15 especially with other pressing needs available to the Steelers at the time.

He recorded 144 tackles last season and had 23.5 tackles for loss to go along with seven sacks, but at the end of the day, the Steelers likely overvalued a linebacker at a similar spot in the draft for the second consecutive season.

Here’s a look at Shazier on film and be sue to leave your thoughts on the pick in the comments section below.


Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Featured Pittsburgh Steelers Popular Ryan Shazier

  • OVP66223

    I really like the pick, even if it wasn’t the CB or NT we thought might happen. Dennard is NOT a fit for the Steelers. He on excels at press coverage, and the Steelers never line up on top of the WR, but usually 10 yards off the line (zone or non-press man). Dennard would have worked, but wouldn’t have been a DB1 that we needed and a reach at pick 15.

    This guy is blazing fast, agile and BIG (for being so athletic). HE could play ILB, OLB and a hybrid SS/LB and will be on the field every down on defense. He is a play-maker in a mold similar to Troy Polamalu. I have NO PROBLEM with this pick. The only issue I have is whether the sometimes stubborn coaching staff will get him on the field and let him do his thing.

    A good point about Worilds as well. If they pay him 8 digit per year like they did Woodley, they’ll regret it. This will give them the option to decline to overpay Worilds and have someone ready in 2015 for that spot…unless he excels at ILB next to Timmons (that would be even better).

    • Matt Shetler

      I don’t have a problem with the pick although I have a problem off where the pick was made. Shazier could have been had likely at pick 20 or even later so there was the opportunity to move down and pick up and extra pick or two. Who knows, maybe they did. While he’s fast as hell, I do like Mosely better as a linebacker and he was still on the board, but we will see how it all plays out for sure.

      I wasn’t a fan of Dennard either. I did like Fuller more but he went the pick before but I thought there was a 100% chance he was going to be the guy with Fuller and Beckham off the board. Once Fuller went I had a Dennard article already written and ready to publish and they certainly thre me a curveball lol.

      • OVP66223

        I do agree we might have gotten him a little later, but I suspect the Ravens would have loved him over the much slower Mosley two picks later. Then we’re stuck with Mosley (or maybe Roby at CB) and would not have improved our team or LB core speed and agility. That wouldn’t have helped us, so glad they stayed and made the pick. Lets hope they get a steal in the 2nd round and it can be DL, CB or WR…don’t care which.

  • Redd Mahoney

    This is a clear overreaction. Does everyone forget about what Seattle’s (#1
    defense) front seven did to Denver’s ( #1 Offense) offensive front? They
    soundly beat them with SPEED!….HELLO! Speed kills and the Steelers
    are loading up baby! A linebacker that runs a 4.3…are you kidding me?
    Dick Lebeau is gonna be scheming to place Worilds, Jones, Timmons
    & Shazier all over the box. As far as playing young players
    goes…Colbert & Tomlin wouldn’t have selected this kid if they
    didn’t have big plans for him. Lebeau will get him on the field simply
    because….jobs are on the line! So relax Steeler nation…the Steelers
    have a plan.That was only the 1st round pick. It’s still early and they
    will surely address their DB needs in the later rounds.

  • TheRealXenocide

    Steelers get an F. They fail to get the real need player in Dennard. I live in Michigan, I’ve seen a lot of both Dennard and Shazier. They WILL regret this feces of a failed pick

    • OVP66223

      We get it. You’re a homer and love the local boy. He should make a fine CB, but isn’t so good as to regret passing on him with pick 15. He does have holes in his game, mainly that he is a tad slow for an NFL CB (>4.5 time), but I also admit several CBs like that still play very well in the NFL. He is not a shutdown corner though and I think we’ll find someone nearly as good in round 2 or 3 (like we did with the other solid corners we’ve had over the past 10 years, always in round 3 or 4).

  • bk

    Hopefully this will be the last of the Tomlin/Colbert drafts… ugh… I know he is fast, but, he is small for an inside LB today… who is going to cover the wr’s? Is this guy going to cover TE’s? NO… the top 5 CB’s are all gone… so if they take one in rd 2 it will be for a sub-standard one, certainly not a big difference maker… still need a WR too.. probably just as well go there in rd 2 now otherwise they will all be gone.
    What a sad deal….

    • OVP66223

      240 lbs is small? You must remember Levon Kirkland fondly. I will take a average sized LB like Shazier (an inch or two shorter than you might like, but he is NOT small or undersized) with blazing speed in this day of 3 and 4 wides, slot TEs and receiving RBs over a 260 lb, slow LB that was made to play in the 90s and running football.

      • bk

        HAve you watched his tape? He gets engulfed at the point of attack… 240? maybe all decked out.. more like 225

    • OVP66223

      In case you didn’t get the news, 240 lbs is not small for an LB, either ILB or OLB. Most that are over 250 lbs are slow, too slow to cover TEs and RBs, and that was our biggest weakness last year, letting TE and RBs rip us to pieces on 3rd downs.