Ryan Shazier LB Ohio State #2
Size/Athleticism: Lacks ideal size for a linebacker but is well built and strong for his size. Straight-line speed rivals some cornerbacks and overall mobility as a sideline-to-sideline defender ranks among the elite prospects in this class.
Run Defense: Elite range. Can make plays from sideline to sideline. Fast enough to chase down the ball carrier in pursuit. Phenomenal closing speed and can lay a big hit when lines up the ball carrier. Takes great angles, which allows him to make plays just about anywhere on the field. Does a decent job fighting through traffic, but can get caught up sometimes because he lacks the strength to move people out of his way.
Pass Rush: Dangerous on delayed blitzes because of his speed. If he can find a gap in the line, he has the ability to quickly close on the quarterback and flush him from the pocket. Limited in his ability to take on offensive linemen when he can’t win with speed. Can cause problems as a speed-rusher on the edge in certain matchups.
Coverage: Athleticism gives him potential in this area, but he’s still developing in man coverage. Gets lost at times and turns his back on the quarterback too often. When his assignments stay in front of him, he does a nice job staying in his space and reading the quarterback. Much more effective in zone coverage at this stage of his career. Can run with most tight ends and running backs. Lack of size hurts him in certain tight end matchups, and at the next level the elite pass-catching tight ends will be able to box him out in 50/50 situations.
Intangibles: Captain in 2013.
Durability: Slowed by a knee injury in 2011 but did not miss any games.
Comments: Shazier’s lack of size will turn off some coaches and he likely will be removed from some draft boards because he simply doesn’t meet the measurables requirements for certain schemes. But in the right system, he can be an effective three-down linebacker who can impact the game in a variety of ways. His range against the run and in coverage, and his ability to get to the quarterback on blitzes gives him the well-rounded game necessary to play and be effective immediately.