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Shazier Active for Week 7
Sunday, Oct. 25
Examining Shazier's Importance to Steelers
The Steelers handpicked Shazier with the 15th selection in the 2014 draft, but the Ohio State product was forced to miss six games as a rookie because of ankle and knee injuries.
"He’s a third-year junior when we drafted him," head coach Mike Tomlin said in March, according to ESPN.com's Scott Brown. "We’ve had a great deal of success with acquiring those third-year-type players. It’s not always instant success. Sometimes it is."
First-year struggles aside, Shazier has the speed and strength necessary (6'1", 230 lbs) to emerge as one of the Steelers' core defensive pieces moving forward.
"He's one of those special guys that can do it all," Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones said in August, according to the Associated Press' Dan Scifo. "He can drop into coverage, he can run and fill gaps. He's a very explosive player who is smart and gets to the ball fast and I'm excited to see him play."
The Steelers are replete with depth at linebacker with Jones, James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons all roaming around the second level, but Shazier's 4.36 40-yard-dash speed, per NFL.com's Mike Huguenin, is invaluable to Pittsburgh's ability to defend at the line of scrimmage.