In a bit of a surprise to a lot of people who expected them to go either corner or wide receiver, the Steelers selected outside linebacker Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State with the 15th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday.
Officially listed at 6’1″ and 237 lbs on his NFL.com draft profile page, Shazier wowed folks at the NFL Combine in February when he led all draft prospects with a 42 inch vertical jump and ran a 4.36 in his forty yard dash at his Pro Day in March.
Even though Shazier is listed as an outside linebacker, according to more than one draft profile, he has the versatility to play both inside and outside, and will probably move inside with Pittsburgh.
- Said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin of Shazier: “Quite frankly, the young man’s got no holes.”
With the departure of long-time veteran Larry Foote in March, and with the uncertainty still surrounding inside linebacker Sean Spence, the Steelers third round pick in 2012 who suffered a career threatening knee injury in the final preseason game of his rookie year, Pittsburgh will likely turn to Shazier to fill the void originally left when James Farrior departed following the 2011 season.
As per his wikipedia page, Shazier was a first team All-American in 2013, while racking up 102 solo tackles (including 23.5 for loss) and seven quarterback sacks for the Buckeyes of the Big Ten Conference.
This makes the second season in a row that the Steelers went defense and linebacker in the first round; in 2013, Pittsburgh selected outside linebacker Jarvis Jones with the 17th pick of Round 1.