Pittsburgh Steelers Select LB Ryan Shazier In Round 1: Reaction & Analysis


May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) poses for a photo with commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number fifteen overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers had essentially a wide open field to them entering the 2014 NFL draft.  Would they take advantage at the depth at cornerback or the depth at wide receiver?  The trade talk became heavy amongst the bloggers the last few days leading up to Thursday evening.  Which way do they go? Up or down?  As long as the Steelers filled a need and got the “most bang for their buck” with the pick, then most of Steeler Nation would be appeased in Round 1.

The Steelers appeared to really screw that up royally by selecting Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State.

Yes that’s right.  The love affair with underachieving Ohio State student athletes continue (see Mike Adams) with the selection of Shazier.  The Steelers passed up the likes of Darqueze Dennard who was a great Plan B after the Chicago Bears pulled Kyle Fuller from under the Steelers with their first round (14th overall) selection.

The knee jerk reaction here is just jaw dropping.  The deep breath reaction that followed was still aggravating.  With so many needs for the Steelers – and inside linebacker was not near the top of the list – there were so many players on the board and even trade down options for the Steelers to exercise.  However, the pick is in, and Shazier is the guy.

Shazier isn’t a bad player.  In fact he’s a Top 5 LB in the draft.  But he’s more of a luxury pick for a really good team.  The Steelers are not a really good team.  They could have been depending on how the draft went, but they are still on the outside of the playoff circle looking in with Shazier.  If they really wanted him, he would have been there in the second round.  Trade down, get an extra second round pick, and take him then.

I guess a question that does come up at this point is what does this mean about Sean Spence, his health, and his realistic chances at returning from a devastating knee injury in his rookie year?  Is Shazier his replacement?  One thing is for sure – Shazier is a developmental kind of player especially in the MACK position.  He will undoubtedly rust on the bench for a season or two while he learns ‘The System’ under Dick LeBeau.  Which would be fine if the Steelers didn’t desperately need big impact players in the first two to three rounds of this draft.

I’m sorely disappointed.  Steelers really need to step it up the rest of the draft.