ROUND 1 ANALYSIS
The Pittsburgh Steelers are an organization that loves linebackers and have sought to team a potential star next to inside linebacker Lawerence Timmons who the coaches feel is the Steelers best defensive player.
With Timmons still in his prime, the Steelers could have that impact linebacker next to Timmons for the next several years in selecting Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier (6-1, 237) with the No. 15 selection in the first round of the NFL draft.
With corner back Darqueze Dennard (selected by Bengals at No. 24) still on the board, the selection was seen as a surprise, but the Steelers have always been a team under Kevin Colbert that feels they can find potential starting cornerbacks in the middle rounds. The Steelers have never drafted a cornerback in the first round under Colbert.
Shazier who has tremendous speed, clocked at 4.4 (forty), according to Colbert, had 315 career tackles, 14 sacks and 44 1/2 tackles for losses in three years at Ohio State. In his junior season (2013), Shazier had 143 tackles and 6 sacks.
“His biggest asset, aside from youth, is his speed,” Colbert said.”The guy can flat out run.”
Shazier is noted for having terrific closing acceleration and burst. The Steelers are getting a guy like Timmons who possesses a lot of playmaking ability in the middle of the field and in the backfield.
“The kids talent is unique,” Colbert said.
“His ability to make plays laterally in the backfield for losses…..I think it’s really important for today’s defenses.”
Mike Tomlin like Colbert see’s Shazier as a unique type of player.
“Quite frankly, the young man’s got no holes,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “He’s exciting. When you start talking about guys at the linebacker position running subpar 4.5, that’s rare,” Tomlin said.
One knock on Shazier is the same knock on Jarvis Jones; He doesn’t have a lot of bulk to him and isn’t very strong as he gets bounced around a bit. However, Shazier is much more explosive and a better athlete than Jones.
“What we needed was a defensive playmaker and he fits the bill in that regard,” Tomlin said. “I think he represents what’s going on with football today. College football, with the ability to spread people out, you need people that can play vertical and in horizontal space. He’s shown that ability to do that,” Tomlin said.
Word out of Steelers headquarters tonight is that once Odell Beckham Jr went off the board, the Steelers were locked in on Ryan Shazier and opted not to trade back as there was fear that he could have gotten swooped up by the Ravens.
Baltimore took ILB C.J. Mosely.
The big news of the night was the Cleveland Browns who took Johnny Manziel at No 22. The Browns traded up for Manziel after trading back and selecting CB Justin Gilbert at No. 8. By initially trading back to No. 9, the Browns now have two first round picks in 2015, acquiring the Bills 2015 first rounder.
With Manziel, the Browns suddenly have some buzz about them.