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Spotlight On: Pittsburgh Steeler’s Ryan Shazier

Skill players on offenses around the NFL, like Quarterbacks or Running Backs, who are fans of the Detroit Pistons or Connecticut Huskies, might be thinking they are having some sort of weird nightmare of Charlie Villanueva chasing them around the field.

But believe me, they will soon become familiar with the name of the man chasing them down in the 2014 NFL Season.

Ryan Shazier.

Though Shazier may vaguely resemble the veteran NBA player in Villanueva in facial features, he runs like Willie Mays Hayes from Major League.

The 15th selection in the 2014 NFL Draft is making big impressions with the Pittsburgh Steelers early in Training Camp with his speed and instincts.

The former Ohio State Buckeye has certainly caught the eye of Steelers Linebackers Coach and former star Joey Porter. Porter was heard telling Shazier, “Speed is your asset!!”

The Steelers certainly intend to use Shazier’s speed to their benefit in 2014, as he will be expected to step into the starting role at Inside Linebacker for the Steelers, an extremely rare accomplishment for such a young player in Dick LeBeau’s complicated defense.

Like future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu, whose speed, instincts, and tenacity is a rare commodity in the NFL, and a nightmmare for opposing Offensive Coordinators, Shazier will be utilized in every way LeBeau can dream up to create chaos and disruption.

Speed isn’t the only asset Shazier posseses. With speed comes a unique blend of power as well. Shazier was impressive in the Steeler’s ‘Backs-on-‘Backers Drill. Shazier is very good at squaring up runners and wrapping up his prey and driving them into the ground. He likes to hit. “I always like to hit people,” the young linebacker said. “Linebacker is like the best spot because you get to hit people. … I feel it’s my calling.”

Last year’s Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks thrived on the speed of their defense. The Steelers plan on using the same formula this season, and if the Steelers are going to return to being one the the NFL’s most feared units again, Ryan Shazier is going to be a big part of the reason. Speed on defense creates turnovers, something the Steelers have been lacking in producing over the past few seasons.

Opposing teams may look to use Shazier’s inexperience against him, but the Steelers staff feels he will adapt quickly. Armed with a great coaches, and veteran Lawrence Timmons also showing him the ropes, Shazier is certainly primed to become the next great linebacker in the great history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and an instant fan favorite.

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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