With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers need a linebacker.
The Pack’s front seven is already upgraded with the addition of a beast in Julius Peppers. Still, a 3-4 defense can never have enough linebackers. And former first round pick, Nick Perry has yet to prove himself.
Green Bay needs someone who can smash running backs and cover tight ends next to veteran leader A.J. Hawk. Picking at 21, top prospect Khalil Mack out of Buffalo and BSC champ C.J. Mosley from Alabama will most likely be off the board.Ryan Shazier wraps up Michigan's Devin Gardner for the sack.
So who’s left?
Ryan Shazier is quick and rangy from a football factory in Ohio State. Pairing him up with fellow alum A.J. Hawk would sure up the middle of the Packers’ defense as far as limiting runs before the second level. Dom Capers is tired of watching his defense chase down big play after big play.
- 40 Yard Dash-4.59
- Bench Press (225 lbs)-25
- Vertical Jump-42 inches
Shazier’s workout standout scores are a testament to how athletic is as an all around linebacker. His 40 time is faster than the both Khalil Mack and C.J. Mosley who are projected as top 15 picks. Shazier’s 25 reps are fifth most among all linebackers in the draft. And his 42 inch vertical is the tallest of not only the position, but the best of the entire combine.
Shazier is a talent who fits in great within Capers’ zone blitz schemes. He recorded 249 tackles, 39.5 for loss, and 11 sacks over the last two years as a Buckeye. The bottom line of the resume reads, “I find the ball, and attack.”
Shazier has a knack for facing up and driving people back. Technique tackling is exactly what the Pack needs. His wrap up skills combined with blazing speed and superb instincts makes him an instant starter.Shazier burns the clock on his Pro Day running an even faster 40 in 4.37 seconds.
The only reason why Shazier might drop to the tail end of the first round is because of his size, or lack thereof. At 6’1, 237 lbs as an inside linebacker, he’s undersized to play with the big boys. He’ll add bulk on his way to his prime; not all 22 year olds are physical specimens like Clay Matthews. But he’s quick enough to burst through gaps and shadow qbs like Kaepernick and Wilson. After last year’s playoff loss, we all know how much a qb spy is worth.
So despite being a smaller linebacker for now, Shazier can make a difference for the Pack using his motor every down.