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Scouting The Draft: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

We continue to look at some of the top prospects in the NFL draft in relation to the New York Jets.

Kirk Irwin


Sometimes if you mention a Ohio State prospect to Jets fans, they instantly turn sour. We like to call that the Vernon Gholston affect. However every player should be judged on his own merits. Gholston struggled because he didn't look as though he had any desire to succeed at the next level. He was a workout warrior who the Jets fell for in shorts instead of on tape. However they were not the only ones, most draft analysts talked about Gholston as a can't miss prospect, sometimes you hit, sometimes you don't, that's the bottom line when it comes to the draft.

Shazier had a host of offers coming out of high school as a defensive end. Recruited as a linebacker by some of the top programs in the country, Shazier turned down the likes of Alabama and LSU to commit to Ohio State where he has turned into a star. He could play off the edge in a 3-4 or as a weakside linebacker in the 4-3. For a team that runs from both 3-4 and 4-3 sets, his versatility could be priceless.

Expected to be taken anywhere from selection #20 to #45, I think it's likely that a player like this is taken earlier than later, so I'm going to predict he goes around the #25 mark. I'm going to apologize now because I absolutely love Ryan Shazier's game and I'll explain in more details why further down.


Height: 6'1

Weight: 237lb's

Class: Junior

Projected 40: 4.65 - 4.70 (didn't run at the combine)

Bench: 25

Vertical: 42

Broad: 10'8

Shuttle: 4.21

3 Cone: 6.91


Year Tackles For A Loss Sacks Interceptions Pass Defenses Forced Fumbles
2013 144 23.5 7 0 4 4
2012 115 17.0 5 1 12 3
2011 58 5.0 3 0 0 2


  • Durability - Some people look at his frame and suggest he'll have problems at the next level, personally I think he holds up well and he has played in all 39 games for Ohio State over three years, and only missed a little time in the Spring with injuries.
  • Speed/Range: Sideline-to-sideline player who has excellent speed for the position, works through traffic well and sets the edge when required. Takes good angles to the football and shows excellent balance. Has the speed to chase down players from behind.
  • Coverage - Completely underrated when dropping back into coverage. As you can see from the pass defense numbers in 2012, he is very fluid when he is asked to drop back into coverage and make plays. Can run with slot receivers, running backs and tight ends.
  • Physicality: He is one of those players who plays the game to hit people. Personally I love that. It's a physical sport and he will put a lick on anyone and everyone who carries the ball. Plays with passion and desire, which means he's the complete opposite to Vernon Gholston.
  • Motor: This guy can run all day, then have a cup of water and run a marathon. He may have a leaner frame than you would like, but in the 4th quarter when backs and receivers are starting to slow, he's still working to them at full throttle. Seemed to encourage and raise the game of the rest of the defense.
  • Pass rushing: His numbers are not as great in terms of sacks as you would like. However he shows a great initial burst, violent hands and excellent closing speed. He does need to add a few moves but his speed around the edge will cause problems.
  • Recognition: Has excellent play recognition, seems to know where the ball is going to be before it's even snapped. Works his way to the ball carrier and is always around the football. Which shows up in his ridiculous tackle numbers over the past two years.
  • Reads screens well. I hate screens when watching our defense on the field because I always think they are going for big gains. Shazier limits that by having excellent recognition on screens and draws.
  • Knows when to engage and when to use his hands to snap off offensive lineman to ensure he can pursue the ball carrier.

  • Size, has a very lean frame and doesn't have a lot of strength in his lower body which could cause problems at the next level.
  • Wrap Up: I love Shazier's physicality, but sometimes you just need to wrap that ball carrier up and prevent him from getting those extra yards. Unfortunately he likes to make a statement and that could cost some extra yards.
  • Can get engulfed by offensive lineman. You want to get Ryan out in space as much as possible, but sometimes he can get lost when working through to the backfield, that comes down to size.
  • Play-Action - This is strange to me, in the games I watched he diagnosed screens and draws well but he bit on play-action numerous times, will need to do better at the next level.
  • Out-muscled - Sometimes when he has lined up with the bigger tight ends, he can get outmuscled and boxed-out.

He is a linebacker who offers excellent versatility. Covers a lot of ground, is as physical as you can get and has been productive. Can run with tight ends and running backs. His size will worry a few teams but I really love his game. He is a three down guy who can play every snap and still be close to 100%. I like his aggression and his passion and that will rub off on his team-mates. Also his instincts are fantastic, just a little below Luke Kuechley but that's not a negative as Kuechley is one of the most instinctive players I've ever seen play the game.

Would I Draft him for the Jets?

Barr and Mack are the premier players at the position, and given the choice I would select both of them ahead of Shazier. However if they are gone, and they likely will be and we wanted to select Shazier. I would have no problems with that. He has an excellent game and could help us both inside and outside depending on how we were set-up. He's the kind of player that fans would absolutely love.