On his pro day, future 1st Round Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick Ryan Shazier posted and official 4.38 40 yard dash time. He did not run a 40 during the NFL combine, but if he put up the same numbers during the combine, he would have had been tied for the 5th fastest man at the combine (just .12 seconds slower than fastest man and fellow rookie teammate Dri Archer). Shazier was also top performer in the vertical jump, broad jump, and the cone drill. Ok we get it, but can the kid actually stand up and be a great linebacker in the NFL?
Coaches Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau certainly think so very early on in the preseason during the OTA’s. Shazier worked with first team reps from the very start, which is somewhat a rarity for the Steelers on the defensive side of the ball. Shazier is impressing so much with his speed, that DLB made a move on Wednesday having Shazier cover star wide out Antonio Brown. Alan Robinson from the Trib tweeted this on Wednesday afternoon:
At one point, Dick LeBeau used ILB Ryan Shazier to cover WR Antonio Brown. Those are the options a fast LB like Shazier give you. #Steelers
— Alan Robinson (@arobinson_Trib) June 11, 2014
I followed up with Robinson and asked if he actually covered Brown. How well did he cover him? You know, like you’re expected to do in a game situation. Or was it all just fun to see if he could keep up?
That’s the key. And, even if Shazier could keep up with Brown (Brown runs a 4.45 for some perspective) and stay tight with him, the base of the point is that it’s still just OTA’s. All it does is show off his speed and becomes less of an ‘option’, if Ben can float one over Shazy’s head and reach right into the hands of AB. Robinson did not respond to my questions (rarely ever does for anyone), so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this becomes a real concept during a game or if DLB and the rest of the D was just having a bit of fun on a warm Wednesday afternoon.