Prospect Preview: Ryan Shazier ILB Ohio State

By Draft Lead Philip Arnold @PhilipArnold20

Marvin Fong/ Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ryan Shazier ILB/4-3 OLB Ohio State University 

6-2 226 lbs. Junior

114 Tackles, 17 TFL, 5 Sacks, 3 QBH, 3 FF, 10 PBU, 1 INT. Second Team All-Big 10 selection in 2012. Led the Big 10 in TFLs and finished second in tackles during 2012. 

Game Notes vs. Michigan 5 Tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 Sack.

  • Shazier plays a 4-3 Weak Outside Linebacker. Ohio State brings him to the line of scrimmage as an edge rusher at points in the game. He has great quickness along with great athleticism.
  • Against the run: Shazier was at his best when he plays downhill and straight ahead. When he plays downhill at run to him he does a great job of playing under control with good balance. Side to side is where Shazier struggled in this game. Shazier got sealed quite a few times on run away 3-4 yards down field and was in no position to make a play. Too many times he was trying to go under or around blockers on run away instead taking himself out of the play, instead of fighting through and taking better angles.
  • Pass Rush: When coming on blitzes against interior linemen, Shazier was best with his quickness. He did a good job of coming through middle gaps quickly with a quick move to get the guards and center of Michigan off balance. On his edge blitz he tried a speed rush against Taylor Lewan twice, but he was able to pick it up. Shazier did a good job though of redirecting and trying to fight back inside into the pocket.
  • Coverage: Shazier mostly is used in zone drops. Shazier was good at flipping his hips, getting depth and finding work. He had good awareness against the mobile Quarterbacks of Michigan to peel off of coverage and come up once the play broke down.
  • Play that stood out: 3 Down and 1 a few minutes into the fourth quarter. Shazier struggled side to side in this game trying to go around blocks instead of taking them on and fighting thru. Though on this play, he did a good job of not getting sealed at the second level and fighting through not taking himself out of the play. Michigan is going to run a power play opposite of Shazier. The center is responsible for getting to the second level and attempting to seal Shazier. Throughout this game Shazier has attempted to try and duck underneath this type of blocks. When the center comes out Shazier does a good job of using his quickness to beat the center to the spot, then gives a punch and swat of the centers hand to get to the hole and earn a TFL and big stop for the Ohio State defense.

Game Notes vs. Penn State 7 Tackles, 2 TFL, 2 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 TD.

  • Shazier did a much better job in this game playing side to side than what we saw in the Michigan game. Once again Shazier displays great quickness and athletic ability.
  • Against the run: Shazier played much better side to side in this game against the run. He wasn’t getting sealed off at the second level and wasn’t taking himself out of plays by trying to go around blocks. What did he do different in this game that was so different from the Michigan game? He was able to beat second level blockers to spots with his quickness. Thought he could get a little stronger at the point of attack. He took on some lead blockers way too high getting pushed back out of the play.
  • Pass Rush: Once again Shazier’s quickness is what gives him a tremendous upside as an inside backer. When Shazier came on inside blitzes interior linemen had trouble picking him up due to his quickness. I really liked Shazier’s balance when coming inside and when he got to the Quarterback he did a good job of coming to control and making a play.

    Shazier Hips

    Shazier drops into coverage and Matt McGloin will look him off to the left. As McGloin looks back to the right, Shazier flips his hips and keeps his head on a swivel, knowing an in route is coming behind him. He makes a hard break to cut off the throw and intercept it for a touchdown.

  • Coverage: For an inside backer, Shazier was impressive once again in his ability to cover in the passing game. He showed good footwork to take away check down routes from Penn State Quarterback Matt McGloin. For the second straight game his hips were lose and he does a good job of flipping and gaining depth in his drops.
  • Play that stood out: 3 Down and 13. Ryan Shazier will drop into coverage playing a middle of the field zone coverage. Matt McGloin will look him off to the left at a hitch, curl combo. McGloin ultimately wants to get Shazier working too far out of the middle for his in route coming across from the right. As McGloin works back to his in route Shazier flips his hips and gains depth while keeping his head on a swivel. When Shazier sees the ball thrown he makes a hard break jumping the route and picking it off for a touchdown. This play is one that highlights Shazier’s great hip work in coverage.

What he does well

Ryan Shazier is an athletic inside linebacker who uses his quickness to his advantage. Against the run Shazier is best at reading and playing down hill. He shows good balance and an ability to attack quickly closing running room of ball carriers. When Shazier is reading plays well, he is a headache for interior linemen. He showed when he beats linemen to spots, they cannot keep up with him. In the pass rush, Shazier is just too quick for interior linemen. He does a good job at timing blitzes and getting passed interior linemen with his quickness. In coverage, Shazier has great hip flexibility and gains great depth in his drops.

What he needs to improve

Shazier Around Block

This play is a great example of Ryan Shazier trying avoid blockers instead of fighting through. Here, Shazier tries to hop to the inside of a blocker of a perimeter run. Had he fought across the outside shoulder of this lead blocker he would have kept contain and gave the running back no room to bounce outside.

Shazier needs to show more consistency side to side at the second level. Too many times does he take himself out of plays because he tries to avoid blockers (right), instead of fighting through and closing down running room. Shazier also needs to improve his ability at the point of attack. He is often high and losing leverage at the point of attack. Instead of delivering a blow to the blocker, he lets them get into him and push him out of the play. Shazier also needs to improve his ability as a consistent tackler. Too often he unbalanced and lunges which ultimately leads to him ducking his head. Ball carriers slip off of Shazier far too often.

Top Matchups

9/28 vs. Wisconsin

10/26 vs. Penn State

11/30 at Michigan

Continue to follow the PFC Prospect Previews bringing you a new preview everyday. The most recent previewed in this series was Kyle Van Noy OLB/DE from BYU. 

Post By Philip Arnold (91 Posts)

Philip Arnold is the lead NFL Draft writer for Pro Football Central. He works on year round scouting and reports of the top NFL Draft prospects. Phil can be contacted on twitter- @Philip_PFC or through email- Philip@Profootballcentral.com

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