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Red Birds NFL Draft Preview: Ryan Shazier, Linebacker

April 29th, 2014 at 5:21 AM
By Steve Smith

'' photo (c) 2011, Clintus - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The 2014 NFL Draft is a little over one week away now.

The Arizona Cardinals will draft 20th overall in next month's NFL Draft in New York City.

Let's take a look at a player the Red Birds may select when they are officially "on the clock".

His name is Ryan Shazier, a junior outside linebacker from Ohio State University. Shazier is 6-foot-1 and weighs 237 pounds.

Let's take an updated look at his profile via cbssports.com:

STRENGTHS: Solid, rangy athlete with terrific closing acceleration and burst. Explosive first step as a blitzer to force the QB from his spot. Very good bend off the edge with momentum to fight through blocks and disrupt the pocket. Flexible ankles and flattens easily. Uses his length well at the point of attack with good take-on strength to deliver a pop, filling hard vs. the run. Eyes are always elevated with good ball vision and anticipation. Breaks down well on the move and gets low, showing clear improvement with his tackling technique. Smart and puts himself in correct position to make plays. Sniffs out the ball and almost always finishes when he's in the area. Never quits working to the ball and relentless in pursuit. Team leader and uplifting teammate with strong personal and football character. Versatile skill-set to drop in coverage, blitz and cover both sidelines. Very productive career with back-to-back seasons with 115-plus tackles, including a conference-best 143 stops in 2013.

WEAKNESSES: Lean frame and lacks elite bulk. Doesn't have the body type to get too much bigger. Needs to continue to get stronger to better shed at the point of attack. Too easily engulfed when attacking the line of scrimmage. Sometimes content throwing his shoulder and not wrapping up. Overaggressive at times in coverage and needs patient and alert. Will lose track of his assignment in man. Needs to stay disciplined and tidy up his timing to avoid late hits and unnecessary flags. Needs to keep his composure and keep his emotions in check. History of minor injuries that have caused him to miss playing time.

Compares To: Lavonte David, Buccaneers – While he's not quite as refined or tough as David, Shazier has a similar body type and movement skills to cover a large area and be a ultra-productive tackler at the next level.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Football, Lavonte David, NFL, Ryan Shazier

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