This week I’m going to take a look at Ryan Shazier, a talented linebacker prospect that the Cowboys could get in the second round. Linebacker isn’t more urgent of a need than defensive line, however if Shazier drops to the Cowboys in the second round, it’ll be very tempting to take the talented linebacker prospect.
What really impressed me about Shazier is his speed. This guy is a sideline to sideline defender. At his pro day yesterday, Shazier ran an unofficial 4.36 40. Standing at 6’1 and 237 lb, Shazier reminds me of our very own Bruce Carter. Both players have rare speed and athleticism at the linebacker position. There are many similarities in their game, which ultimately makes me believe that Shazier would not be a good fit for the Cowboys.
Firstly, we already have a player that has the same physical skillset as him in Bruce Carter. Shazier is a fit at weakside linebacker, and would be competing against Carter for a starting role. Secondly, Shazier is an undisciplined player. He often has late hits and can be seen chirping opposing players. Shazier is not the kind of player Garrett would want on the field. The Cowboys already struggle with penalties, so it would not be wise to bring in another player that may be a liability. Thirdly, his tackling ability is lacking. He does not wrap up on his tackle and this often leads to many broken or missed tackles. In a bend-don’t-break scheme, the defenders cannot allow big plays. Their tackling needs to be reliable so they can live another down. Solid tackling is needed in this scheme, and Shazier does not have that skill yet. Lastly, Shazier is easily taken out of the game by blockers. He needs to learn how to get off of his blocks. In the Cowboys defensive scheme, the defensive linemen are usually smaller. This means that blockers are more likely to get to the second level, which would render Shazier useless. On another team I think Shazier can be a superstar, but he is just not a good fit for the Cowboys.
Shazier is an impressive prospect with a very high ceiling. He has rare speed and quickness, but has shown almost no ability to get off his blockers and needs to improve on his tackling technique. His weaknesses will hold him back in our scheme, and this defense need players that can contribute right away. Shazier is an incredibly fun prospect to watch, but I would hope the Cowboys will shy away from him.