My take: Shazier, a leader for the Ohio State Buckeyes all season long, registered 130 tackles with 22.5 of them for a loss. He also provided a pass-rushing presence as he notched six sacks and forced four fumbles in 13 games this season.
Shazier is a very nice player, and given the fact that he’s a Buckeye, Ohioans would probably like to see the Bengals draft him just based off familiarity and being a home-grown talent. But he has yet to decide if he’ll even declare for the draft:
“Right now, I’m dead flat in the middle,” Shazier said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. If I would say anything, I’m probably leaning toward staying, but I don’t know what I’m doing right now. I’m just really focusing on this game [the Discover Orange Bowl vs. Clemson] right now.
While James Harrison may return this offseason, the Bengals do have two quality prospects on the injured reserve list right now who could become starters.
Emmanuel Lamur was slated to be the team’s starting linebacker in nickel and dime packages as the team’s best coverage backer, but a shoulder injury in the preseason cost him the entire year.
Sean Porter, a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, was projected to be a backup OLD this year, but a torn labrum in the preseason also cause him to miss the entire year.
Do the Bengals hope that one of them can step-up at OLB, or does the team go with a player like Shazier if he does declare and is on the board as they’re on the clock? That is what the Bengals must ask themselves if this scenario comes to be.
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