So, your mamma says you're beautiful and that you can have any woman you want. Awe, so sweet! One problem: She's lying to you! You're a "seven". Maybe an eight on a good day, but you're really only an L.A.-Six. You're also shallow, and you're vain, and the only reason we're even having this talk is because I'm going to help you find the best looking girlfriend possible. We'll get you lined up with that hottie with a body, but we'll need to make sacrifices in other areas first.
Maybe she talks too much, you have nothing in common, doesn't laugh at your jokes, stupid, 'mean girl', drama queen, gold digger, or my own personal favorite, she might have a little of that Latina crazy side to her!
Sitting at #31 in the draft means you're not in position to get the man of your dreams. The Von Miller's and the Nadamukong Suh's are firmly out of your league. So do you want your new man to be handsome, or do you want him to be a MF play-maker? What's more important to you, speed or size? Ya, I went there ;)
Ryan Shazier is a popular name to Bronco fans for a few weeks now, but it's probably pretty rare for the masses to actually get a pick right. In fact, it might give you better odds to just take the popular pick off the board and then throw a dart with a blindfold on. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule... and this pick here might actually have some teeth.
Ryan has the sexy stats, the gorgeous impact plays and an x-factor to die for. He might even be slightly within our reach, if only because he's not as tall as we'd like, he's not as big as we'd like, and he doesn't play a premium position that some of us would prefer to draft in the first-round. He does play a position of great need to the Broncos, though - even though he's not actually a MLB per se.
Actually, let's stay on that for a minute. Is he a MLB or is he an OLB? I guess to answer that, I would humbly submit to you the tried and true battle theory of Who-Gives-A-Shit, as most likely referenced in Sun Tzu's the Art of War (The Invisible Chapter.. Look it up!).
The Broncos are looking to replace the role of Joe Mays/Keith Brooking/Paris Lenon at MLB and then also the role that Wesley Woodyard has played for years - the role as the second (and final) coverage linebacker during sub-packages. Now ideally those two needs would magically mesh into one shining beacon of here-pick-me-put-me-in-coach, and maybe that's the case with Ryan. Then again, does it really matter? Either of those two roles can land him 70% of the snaps if he's good at it, so there's really no need to pigeon-hole him into a specific position at this point.
Ryan is a play-maker, and whether he starts to "quarterback the defense" in year-one or not isn't really as relevant as the notion that we need both positions filled, as both are essentially sitting with an empty chair right now.
Again, it's his size and his non-premium-positional-status (just think of it as him being a redhead) that we're giving up, and it's what keeps him within our grasp. But don't forget, Coach Fox has never shied away from smaller linebackers. In fact, he has something of a fetish for them.
Everybody Has a 'Certain Type'.
According to CBS' NFL DraftScout, "The scouting report on (Danny) Trevathan is similar to fellow Kentucky alum Wesley Woodyard in 2008: prolific tackler, too small, gets lost in traffic".
According to the same draft site, Ryan Shazier: "Very productive career with back-to-back seasons with 115-plus tackles, including a conference-best 143 stops in 2013...Lean frame and lacks elite bulk. Doesn't have the body type to get too much bigger." Prolific tackler, too small. Yada, yada, yada.
If those three linebackers don't sound eerily similar to you, go back and read it again. Right now. No soup for you!
Throw a rock in four different directions, you'll get four different weights and heights listed for each of those players. For the sake of continuity, we'll ride with the same draft site we just referenced above. Wesley is listed at 6'1, 227 pounds. Danny is listed at 6'0, 237 pounds. Ryan is listed at 6'1, 237 pounds. Triplets, how cute!
- Wesley Woodyard, final two years of college: 260 tackles, 9 PBU's, 1 interception and 8 forced fumbles.
- Danny Trevathan, final two years of college: 287 tackles, 12 PBU's, 4 interceptions and 9 forced fumbles.
- Ryan Shazier, final two years of college: 259 tackles, 16 PBU's, 1 interception, and 7 forced fumbles. (Source here.)
Seeing some similarities yet? Seriously, no soup for you if you're not picking it up by now. Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan are both fast. They've each run in the 4.4's, which is a truly blistering speed and incredibly rare for linebackers. Apparently they ain't got shit on Shaz, though.
Nfl.com wrote a story in November citing where Ryan Shazier told a local newspaper that he runs a 4.35 40-yard dash. "Speed is the reason for his production, he says." Pretty sure nobody believed him. The same writer, Mike Huguenin, followed up with another piece earlier this month under the front-page headline, "Ohio State's Ryan Shazier runs unofficial 4.36 40 at pro day".
The article then goes on to underline that the time was "unofficial", meaning there could be some variances. Still, a 4.3 guy can't really be mistaken for a 4.6 guy, and where there's smoke there's fire. Not only that, but he also telegraphed his shot back in November like Babe Ruth pointing to the bleachers.
His speed is real. So how about some context?
"That time would've been the fourth-fastest at the combine, behind the 4.26 of Kent State running back Dri Archer, the 4.33 by Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks and the 4.34 by Pittsburg (Kan.) State wide receiver John Brown", the article goes on to state.
So, in linebacker terms, and purely from a technical standpoint, that basically means he's faster than a wild cheetah after a fresh case of Red Bull.
If they're all so gosh darn similar, though, then why did Wesley go undrafted, Danny go in the 6th round, and yet here we are projecting Ryan to be drafted in the back of the first-round? It don't add up, Rod Rod. What the deal is, yo?!
Well, Danny shit the bed at his Pro Day after not running in the combine. It was baaad. Or as Sports Illustrated put it, "Drafting a linebacker who is either too short or too slow is one thing. Taking a guy who fell into both categories? Almost unthinkable".
Danny would have been better off skipping the workout while posting pictures in a strip club. What, too soon?
Luckily for us, LB Coach Richard Smith noted that his play speed and timed speed didn't mesh. "Are you faster than that 40 time?" Smith asked. "Yeah," Trevathan responded. "I had a pulled hamstring. ... When I'm healthy, I'm a 4.45 guy."...."Oh, come on," a hesitant Smith said. "Don't be kidding me."
"Give me another opportunity, and I'll run a 4.4 for you."
Smith and the Broncos apparently gave Danny that chance.
As for Woodyard, he fell out of the draft because he was listed at as low as 219 pounds in college and nobody really knew what to do with him. That is until Coach Fox came along with his twisted fetish for smaller, faster linebackers. So, those are the reasons Danny and Woody dropped, but this is where Shaz really separates himself from the other twins..
- Wesley Woodyard had 4.5 sacks and 17.5 TFL's in his final two years.
- Danny Trevathan had 6 sacks and 27.5 TFL's in his final two years.
- Ryan Shazier had 12 sacks and 40.5 TFL's in his final two years.
Smoke on those numbers for a second, and then let's bring in another name here, and I want you to think of it like this: If Danny Trevathan and Nate Irving had a baby, it would look a lot like Ryan Shazier. Ya, get that mental picture all up in your cabezas.
Irving was the Broncos third-round draft pick a few years back, and while he's never panned out to be the MLB they had hoped for, this is still the MLB they chose in the past, and that means we can learn from it going forward. He had 32.5 TFL's and 8 sacks in his final two years of college, which is less than Shaz on both counts. Irving was even considered to be the top MLB in that draft by some. Either way, those ackles for loss are the impact plays that you're really looking for in a MLB (or even at SAM). It essentially means he can bust through and knife his way past the bigs, but it also shows great instincts, and in Ryan's case, incredible burst and closing speed as well. It means you're not going to have a case of DJ Williams racking up a ton of tackles 7 yards down the field. You're crossing Danny's speed with Nate's impact behind the line, and you're getting an explosive burst of man-beast in the delivery room.
It's really really rare to see someone with 40 tackles for loss in a two year stretch. I mean, that's approaching some Von Miller Kung Fu there (39.5). Don't worry, though. Ryan doesn't have Von's bend, his get-off or his sacks (27.5), so there's no danger of Ryan getting stolen away in the top-5 picks.
The combine is generally a way for scouts and personnel men to sort of double check production and what they saw on tape. Ryan did some of the Combine events, "including a 42-inch vertical jump, the best of any athlete at the event. He also had a 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump, which was sixth-best among all the players. Those are eye-opening numbers for a linebacker."
That's "explosion" right there. Every scouting report you read about him will discuss his explosion, and those tests back it up.
Drafting this kid is to draft a position that wouldn't cost more than $7M to get an absolute top-tier veteran in free agency. That's why we say it's not a "premium" position. Ryan's also got some issues getting off blocks (mostly because he's smaller), and there's some talk that he doesn't have the frame to get bigger. Are these all issues you're willing to sacrifice in order to get your man-dime?
"The one thing he's got to get better at at the NFL level is, he's got to learn to take on blocks," Mayock said. Despite that issue, Mayock said Shazier is a great fit for today's NFL because "he's so good in the pass game."
What Mayock doesn't know is that Foxy Bear likes to protect these smaller linebackers by parking Semi Trucks such as Big Vick, Pot Roast and Sylvester Williams in front of them - all of whom weigh well over 320 pounds.
Ryan Shazier has no red flags that I'm aware of. Every scouting report you read will talk about how he's a "team guy" in the greatest sense of the term. He's fiery and emotional. He hits hard. He makes plays. His character is said to be top notch, and his teammates would run through a brick wall for him. He's smart, has terrific instincts, and his explosion is absolutely elite. He is a leader in every sense of the word, and he has a motor that never stops. Is it time to jump on board with the cool kids? Maybe. There's certainly a lot to like. Now take me out with a vote!