Just about everybody agrees that the Green Bay Packers have three players that are their top targets in the first round: North Carolina TE Eric Ebron, Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Louisville S Calvin Pryor.
If one of these three players is available when the Packers make their selection at the 21st spot, that available player will be the pick. However, Ebron, Clinton-Dix, and Pryor all seem likely to be gone by the time the Packers make their selection, while another popular name thrown around with the Packers, Alabama ILB C.J. Mosley, also will most likely be gone. But if he is there and the other three are not, Mosley should be the pick.
So, who should the Packers take if none of the four players that have been previously mentioned are available?
Ryan Shazier was the leader of the Ohio State defense and while the Buckeyes’ defense as a whole was a disappointment, Shazier had a great season and showed that he should be a first-round pick.
Shazier has the talent to be a very good immediate starter at inside linebacker next to another former Buckeye in A.J. Hawk. Shazier also would fill a need early on and allow the Packers to make some moves to get the safety and tight end that the Packers need to add.
Shazier is a player that Packers fans should enjoy watching as the tape of Shazier shows a player who hustles around the field and always seems to be in position to make a play. Shazier is a tackling machine and had 102 tackles last season for the Buckeyes while also showing an ability to put pressure on the quarterback with 7 sacks. Shazier forced 4 fumbles last season while also showing his coverage ability with 4 passes defensed and 12 pass deflections in 2012.
One thing that Shazier will have to do is shift more permanently to inside linebacker from an outside linebacker role, but he was already playing like an inside linebacker on many plays for the Buckeyes so that shouldn’t be an issue. Shazier is a little undersized when you look at him as an outside linebacker but as an inside linebacker, Shazier’s size is not an issue and he did have a 42-inch vertical at the NFL Combine so he can get up and make plays on the football.
Shazier has been a guy who is rising up draft boards over the last few weeks after slipping out of the first round early on in the process due mainly to his size.
He is a guy who would be a great fit in the Packers’ 3-4 defense and Green Bay has a safety net in Brad Jones to back up A.J. Hawk and Shazier.
Shazier would be a great pick for the Packers in what is one of the strongest NFL Drafts in recent memory.