Pass coverage, shedding blocks, and strength. Although Shazier’s numbers are mightily impressive, the Ohio State defense was considered average at best among the elite schools this past season. That may leave some to believe that his numbers were a product of being an elite defender on a particularly bad defense.
For a linebacker as athletically gifted as Shazier, one would have to wonder how he could go his junior year without intercepting a pass. It’s because he is considered to be average to below average in pass coverage. Shazier can tend to get lost attacking the line of scrimmage to make tackles, allowing receivers to get behind him to make catches.
Another area of concern with Shazier is the fact he is one of the smallest linebackers slated to be drafted in the first two rounds. At 230 pounds, he is definitely going to have to dedicate himself to the weight room leading up to the combine. Being able to add 15 to 20 pounds would be ideal for Shazier to ensure that his body can withstand the duration of an entire NFL season.
How he fits in with the Bengals
Many mock drafts have the Bengals selecting Ryan Shazier with the number 24 pick in the upcoming draft. I have to say, I find it hard to argue with anybody who believes it would be a good fit. Shazier would definitely have the opportunity to contribute right off the bat.
If anything, he would add valued depth to an already elite Bengal defense. James Harrison is aging and wasn’t the edge rusher that the Bengals had hoped for last season. Shazier could be the pass rushing linebacker that the Bengals have been searching for over the past few years.
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