Steelers Select Shazier; Let the Second-Guessing Begin

ShazierWith Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard falling to the 15th spot in the NFL draft as if it were fate, the Pittsburgh Steelers instead went with Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. While it was believed that the Steelers would look for a linebacker or two in the draft, it was thought to be much later in the draft.

Shazier brings incredible speed at the linebacker position and right now it looks as though he’ll pair with Lawrence Timmons in the middle.

His speed and athleticism however will allow him to be moved around significantly and will also keep him on the field as a three-down player. He had almost 40 tackles for loss in college and is a consistent disruption to opposing offenses.

His weight might be a bit of an issue because he is listed at about 237 pounds which might be a little on the light side but I have to believe the Steelers will not want to limit his speed and acceleration.

Shazier will not be widely accepted by Steeler Nation initially because of needs at several other positions, but he was clearly the best player available at 15. If you’re the type who constantly screams for the ‘BPA’ then you shouldn’t be upset by this pick.

The down-side however means that the Steelers are putting a tad more pressure on themselves to get picks in the later round correct. With needs at corner, wide receiver, defensive line and in the backfield, those selections now must produce. To add to that point, with Shazier being a first round guy, it will be expected that he gets on the field immediately.

Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin cannot afford to have another defensive player sit and watch while playing special teams. If that happens, then the selection of Shazier is a poor one.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard weekly on Trib-Live Radio talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.

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2 comments on “Steelers Select Shazier; Let the Second-Guessing Begin

  1. I personally like the pick. When I first heard it I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t Dennard, but the more I sat and thought about it I got more and more excited. Shazier was a great player for Ohio State, and he can fly. I’m sure Marc agrees with me when I say that it stings just a little to grab someone from the Buckeyes, but if they can help out the Black and Gold, all will be forgiven. I think he will plug in next to Timmons right away and that will give Pittsburgh the fastest set of inside linebackers in the NFL. Some people are saying that he is undersized but he makes up for that with his speed, and also his toughness. Besides, I can think of another undersized middle linebacker that worked out ok for the Steelers in the 70’s. I would agree that now it does put more pressure on them to hit on these next picks coming up, but with it being such a deep draft at the CB and WR position, I think that the Steelers are going to still be able to address those needs as the second and third round get underway today.

    • As much as it pains me to see these OSU guys on our roster I won’t care as long as they produce! Shazier has an enormous opportunity to be a 3-down guy. I’ll be livid if he sits most of the year.

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