After spending months and month selecting a cornerback -- with an intermission safety in between -- SB Nation's Mocking the Draft changes things up. In their latest weekly mock draft, Mocking the Draft selects Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier for the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 24.
Ryan Shazier is more than just a workout warrior. While the Ohio State linebacker stole the show in Indianapolis, it's what he did on the field in 2013 that will get him drafted in the first round.
This isn't the only time that Shazier has been selected by the Bengals in a mock draft -- going No. 24 in Optimum Scouting's recent mock.
Extremely athletic, Shazier could help a Bengals linebacker core in need of speed and youth. Shazier had six sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss (tied for third in college football) as a roaming linebacker for the Buckeyes and many believe that he could come into the league and contribute right away, even if on a rotational basis. With Emmanuel Lamur coming back and the possibility of the Bengals re-signing Taylor Mays for his hybrid role, adding a player with Shazier's skill set could be a welcomed addition.
During the NFL combine, the prospect linebacker recorded a 42-inch vertical leap paired with a 10-foot-plus broad jump -- impressive numbers for a linebacker. Then you have Shazier's character. His father is currently the Miami Dolphins team chaplain and the kid brings no baggage with him to the NFL. He boasts an incredible work ethic and the type of intangibles that could make him a solid player at the next level.
NFL analyst, Buck Brooks, says that Shazier is the type of player that is super fast and athletic. He can cover tight ends as well as rush off the edge. He is a typical linebacker that can contribute as a three down player in a pass heavy league.
Even if he's playing on a rotational basis, Shazier could have a role that the Bengals signed James Harrison to fill: A pass-rushing threat from the outside linebacker spot. Harrison failed to provide the team with much of that, and he may even be cut and/or retire this offseason. Depending on what kind of defense Guenther wants to run, having a better threat of a pass rush at linebacker may become more crucial. He could certainly provide that to a Bengals linebacker roster that combined for just 10 sacks in 2013 and five in 2012. Shazier has spent the past six weeks at IMG and has placed an emphasis on bulking up. He said he now weighs 233 pounds, after playing at 227 last season:
"He's a very athletic linebacker," IMG director of football operations Chris Weinke said. "He can fly around; he can get into coverage; he can come downhill and fill the hole. I think his body type is going to allow him to do a lot of different things."
The Bengals reportedly met with Shazier during the NFL Combine.
Jason Marcum, Mickey Mentzer, and Anthony Cosenza contributed to this report.