Shazier will likely wait until after the Buckeyes play the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 to make his decision. Right now he says that he’s leaning more toward staying in school, which would be great for the Ohio State defense in 2014. However, if Shazier does decide to leave for the NFL, he could likely be a first-round pick, the only current Ohio State player to be pegged as such.
Many think that though Shazier is projected as a first-round pick, he may not be big enough to excel as a linebacker in the NFL. Scouts say the only improvements he really needs if he stays for his senior season are to get bigger and stronger. He currently leads the Buckeyes with 134 tackles and 22.5 tackles for loss, plus six sacks and four forced fumbles this season. He was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Week twice this season and was also selected to the all-conference first-team. Draft experts like his good vision, ability to “sniff out” plays, and the fact that he has “above average” blitzing abilities. There is no question Shazier has the skills to survive in the NFL. It’s his size that many are worried about.
Cornerback Bradley Roby would have been a first-round pick in the draft had he left the Buckeyes for the NFL after last season, but experts have now predicted him to be picked after Shazier if he does indeed enter the draft this year. Roby did not play up to his potential in 2013 and it seemed as if his head and his heart were not all the way in it, which resulted in lower draft stock this year.
Could the same happen to Shazier if he decides to stay for his senior season? Possibly. If his head and his heart are not all the way into his final college season, then he could likely be in the same boat as Roby. It may not be the best thing for the Buckeyes, but the best thing for Shazier may be to forgo his senior season and head to the NFL.