Ryan Shazier (OLB), Ohio State
6'1" | 237 lbs.
114 tackles, 23.5 TFL, 7 sacks, 4 FF
What scouts are saying:
"Long and lean. Projects to weakside linebacker. His speed to the edge is excellent. There are some wasted movements when working the backside, but once the target and ally are located he gets there in a hurry. Zone drops are smooth. Asked to blitz from inside and on the edge. Takes tight angles into the backfield on edge runs." (Josh Norris, Rotoworld)
"Shazier has instant acceleration and explosive closing burst, using outstanding edge speed and timing to disrupt the pocket. He lacks natural power to disengage blocks and needs to develop his discipline, but Shazier is a scheme diverse player who projects as a three-down weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 or as an edge rusher in a 3-4 base." (CBSSports.com)
"The Big Ten's leading tackler, Shazier flies around the field, and his unique athletic ability stands out. Offers a tremendous combination of speed, tackling and coverage skills to become a playmaker as a run-and-hit 4-3 Will or perhaps a 3-4 weakside 'backer if protected by a block-occupying nose tackle. Value is increased by the fact that he will not have to come off the field." (Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com)
"Shazier has plenty of inconsistencies in his game that coaches and scouts will factor into their evaluation of him. Things like inability to shed blocks, inconsistency in coverage, and his overall raw technique at the position. However, his first step quickness and athletic ability are second to none at his position and from a physical stand point he possesses all the ideal traits from a weak-side linebacker. ... Scouts will be drooling over the different ways to use his tools and the weapon he could ultimately turn into." (Luke Inman, eDraft)
Fit for the Bears:
The Bears sure looked to be in need of linebacking assistance last season, but that was mostly thanks to a rash of injuries. Veterans Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams return and will hopefully play more than a handful of games each, making the immediate need for a starting linebacker less than some might think. That being said, the Bears could use depth everywhere on the defensive side of the ball, and linebacker is no exception. Shazier proved his talent in the nearby Big Ten, and if Phil Emery & Co. feel the need to bolster the reserves, Shazier would certainly be a candidate. The problem is Shazier is expected to be selected in the first round. Do the Bears want to spend their top pick on the Ohio State product? Because there will likely be no other spot at which to select him.