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.