With the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ryan Shazier. He is a hybrid player who can play multiple positions in the NFL. He played linebacker in college but has the ability to play safety with his blazing speed.
A physical specimen, his size and speed combination is comparable to Kam Chancellor and Patrick Willis. At 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds Shazier could be a middle linebacker in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense or a strong safety to take over Mike Mitchell‘s job. A player who can make an immediate impact, Shazier is a solid player with good upside.
The Steelers’ linebacker corps is looking extremely gifted now if Shazier does in fact end up playing middle linebacker. With Jarvis Jones, Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds and now Shazier, one of the most important positions for the Steelers is now chock full with talent.
Linebacker is an especially important position in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense. They are counted on to cover the run especially well; without an extra defensive lineman to help protect against the run, the Steelers’ linebackers need to be proficient at both stopping the run and the pass. They are, without a doubt, the biggest key to Pittsburgh’s defense.
The Steelers got their pick of linebackers this year, none had been taken by 15th so they were able to get their guy. I am confident in Kevin Colbert‘s drafting ability, he knows how to pick linebackers and wide receivers especially well so this is exciting. Shazier should be able make a difference and be a playmaker right away which keeps the window open for the Steelers to win a Super Bowl before Ben Roethlisberger retires.