Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State (HT: 6’1” WT: 237 lbs.)
First Round: 15th Pick
NFL Comparison: Lavonte David, OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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- Rare athletic potential with a frame to build on.
- Has long speed to make plays all over the field.
- Ran an unofficial 40-time of 4.36 at the Ohio State Pro Day.
- Ability to click and close with sensational initial burst.
- Impactful blitzer from space who can split gaps with acceleration.
- Experience as an edge-rusher with natural flexibility for it.
- Explodes to the quarterback as a delayed blitzer and covers ground quickly.
- Rangy in coverage and can get to his spots in a hurry.
- Tracks the eyes of quarterbacks in coverage.
- Keeps shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage while working laterally to defend the run.
- Reads ball-carriers well to anticipate cuts.
- Attacks downhill in his run fits and makes plays in the backfield at a high rate.
- Quick through gaps when blocking scheme gives space, disrupts slow-developing plays often.
- Slides laterally off blocks with lateral quickness.
- Chases down plays to the perimeter with uncommon open-field speed.
- Flashes strength as a tackler to make solo tackles and limit yards after contact.
- Will punish ball-carriers and receivers with devastating hits.
- Versatile linebacker who moves between many positions at Ohio State.
- Feet aren’t particularly light in space, and struggles changing directions.
- Can be fooled by misdirection, tends to read the backfield.
- Takes too many false steps while reading and can be caught out of position.
- Doesn’t play with his head on a swivel and struggles to anticipate blocks.
- Plays with hesitation in coverage, slow to pick up receivers.
- Gets flat-footed at times and is slow to trail receivers in man coverage.
- Too upright when taking on blockers with an exposed chest and lack of balance.
- Inconsistent usage of hands to plays off blocks.
- Little upper-body strength to ward off the hands of blockers.
- Struggles to anticipate and play off cut blocks.
- Misses too many tackles in space by failing to break down and lunging at ball-carriers.
- Too often goes to his knees as a tackler instead of driving through with his hips.
- Tendency to lose discipline and pick up unnecessary flags.
- A 4-star prospect as a recruit in class of 2011, ranked No. 81 in the ESPN150.
- 2013 First Team All-American.
- Received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board before declaring.
Shazier is an appealing linebacker because of his immense athletic ability. There are few linebacker prospects who can make plays all over the field in a way that Shazier can. The inconsistencies in his game make him a boom-or-bust prospect, though. He needs to grow in his ability to read keys and diagnose plays as well as take on run-blockers with more proficiency.
The variety of ways in which he could be used will appeal to defensive coordinators everywhere. If a coaching staff can develop Ryan Shazier's raw talent, he could become one of the league’s most impactful linebackers.
Draft Projection: 1st-2nd Round
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