Today we take a look at Ryan Shazier. If you're a person who believes the Giants need to add more athleticism to the linebacker position (you might also be a person who believes the Earth is round), then no look further than Ryan Shazier who is such a perfect match for what the Giants need that the best question is will the Giants have a shot to draft him in the second round?
-- Extremely athletic (42-inch vertical at the Combine, ran a sub-4.40 40 at his pro-day ... he's a 237-pound linebacker)
-- Extremely productive (144 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 FF, 4 passes defensed)
-- True three-down linebacker. Terrific in coverage. With his size and athletic ability can be a guy who cover's tight ends in the NFL
-- Makes a lot of big plays behind the line of scrimmage and has an explosive first step. He has upside as a pass rusher because he does a good job bending under blockers when rushing the passer
-- Has big, strong hands. You can't run outside on this guy
-- His instincts are still developing (and yes you can develop instincts)--he is a bit over aggressive at times
-- More of a run and chase linebacker than a guy who is going to shed blocks and make plays.
-- Makes a lot of good tackles, but misses some too.
-- Lacks ideal size
-- Some question if his tackle numbers are inflated
Player comparison: LaVonte David (a comparison that is often made), but he's much more athletic than David.
I'll say this -- he is every bit as productive of a college player Patrick Willis was -- and measures out as athletic (or more so than) than Willis in every category...He has that kind of potential -- Willis had a label as a guy who has an injury history entering the NFL, but it turned out that Willis is just a tough sob who loves football. He loves the contact, he's extremely strong between the ears. Willis has "it" ... Does Shazier? If, yes, he has that kind of ability, but that's the big question.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Yes. Absolutely. Shazier will end up very high on my big board he was top 20 in both my initial big boards. I wouldn't even bat an eye if the Giants took him at 12, but I find that highly unlikely to happen. Shazier is an absolute freak, he was productive at a major college program and he'd fit perfectly as a WILL linebacker next to Jon Beason.
Surprisingly, I could only find games from 2012 -- he was better in 2013
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 29th
Mocking The Draft - 24th
Draft Countdown - 22nd
Draft Tek - 34th
Shazier is not the best player in the draft, but he might be my favorite to watch. I love the player in college football, but I do have some reservations which make me reserved--like I was saying before what's the difference between Willis and Shazier? If you look at their production or put them in the underwear olympics? Nothing. And while Willis is more a gap shooter and does a lot of run and chasing there's no questioning his toughness, his desire to be great. I don't know if Shazier has that, but you don't really know if any prospect has that until they get to the NFL. Shazier has All-Pro potential, he has the length, enough size (Willis is 6-1, 240 pounds), and more than enough speed to be terrific in the NFL. I don't think he'll be available when the Giants pick in the second round, but he'd be the ideal pick if he was, and I wouldn't be upset if he was taken at 12 (though I doubt he would be).