Rant Sports 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Green Bay Packers Select Ryan Shazier at No. 21

By Mike Cuddy
Ryan Shazier
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

With the No. 21 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Ryan Shazier, Linebacker Ohio State University.

I went with Shazier here because he fills a need for the Packers. With C.J. Mosley already off the board, Shazier was the best available option to bring in for an immediate upgrade at the linebacker position. While the Packers have plenty of holes to fill on their defense, linebacker was the position that made most sense here as the top two safeties were already off the board.

With great speed and athleticism, Shazier will be able to step in at the inside linebacker position and give an immediate boost to a defense that finished ranked 25th overall in the league last season. Finishing last season at Ohio State with 100 solo tackles and 6 sacks, Shazier has also shown a great ability to cover tight ends and slot receivers, which will be a great asset for the Packers who also need plenty of help in the defensive backfield, so any pressure the front seven can take off of them is beneficial.

One of the knocks against Shazier has been that he struggles to disengage from blockers at times. I’m not sure this will be a huge issue now that the Packers have acquired Julius Peppers to help bolster their defensive line. As long as the defensive line can occupy the offensive blockers Shazier has the speed to move around them and contribute to plays all over the field.

Shazier has decent size and has shown a great ability to find a ball carrier and close on them very quickly while playing in college. This addition should improve the Packers run defense, which was surrendering over 125 yards per game last season while playing in a division laden with Pro Bowl running backs.

For the Packers in this draft defense must be a priority if they hope to hold off the Chicago Bears from taking the division title. I would look for them to also add a safety and defensive lineman as well.

Mike Cuddy is a Chicago Bears writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeCuddy, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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