The NFL held it’s opening first round of the draft last night at Radio City Music Hall. Thirty-two players had their dreams come true last night as they heard Roger Goodell call out their name from the podium. Two of those players were Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby of The Ohio State University. Roby and Shazier broke the two year drought of no Buckeyes being selected in the first round and is a good sign for the Buckeyes that elite NFL talent has returned to Columbus.
Ryan Shazier went 15th overall to Pittsburgh, becoming the first Buckeye since Cameron Heyward to be drafted in the first round (also by Pittsburgh). He was projected to go mid to late first round of the as the #3 rated outside linebacker (Mack, Barr) so the fact that Pittsburgh grabbed him at 15 was a little surprising. Pittsburgh is an aging defense and began the renewal process at the linebacker position last year with Jarvis Jones and have now added Shazier. It’s hard to know exactly what Shazier’s primary role is going to be in Lebeau’s 3-4 zone blitz scheme, but look for him to do a fair amount of edge rushing. Shazier isn’t a hulking linebacker, but he has elite speed and quickness for his position and could make for an effective edge rusher. He also shouldn’t have too much trouble becoming better in pass defense given his athleticism. He has the speed to stay with running backs coming out of the backfield and enough size that tight ends won’t be able to bully him when positioning for a catch. Overall I think Shazier will be a nice fit in Pittsburgh.
Bradley Roby was selected 31st overall by the Superbowl runner-up, Denver Broncos. Roby dropping to the end of the first round was fairly surprising and I’m sure the Broncos feel like they got a steal. Many scouts had Roby as the first or second best corner in the draft and like Shazier he was expected to go towards the middle of the first round. No doubt his off the field incidents, including his recent DUI didn’t help his character evaluation at all. Roby is undoubtedly one of the most physically gifted corners in the draft, running a blazing 4.34 40, and showing incredible quickness/fluidity in the combine drills and his game film. The biggest knock on Roby is his inability to locate the ball at times during the year. The Wisconsin game in particular hurt Roby’s stock as Abbrederis torched him for 10 catches and almost 200 yards. Personally, I thought Cincinnati or San Diego would grab him at 24 or 25 for sure, obviously that didn’t happen. Denver should be a good fit for Roby and he should be excited to have a chance to win immediately as long as Peyton is under center for the Broncos. Talib is the clear cut #1 corner in Denver, but Roby should start opposite him, at least until Chris Harris returns from injury, then Roby might be relegated to nickel/dime situations.
Again, Congratulations to both Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby! Hopefully Carlos Hyde will hear his name called tonight in the second round.