Just when it looked as if Ryan Shazier’s chance to put on a show at the NFL combine might be, uh, hamstrung, the former Ohio State linebacker managed to make a strong impression anyway.
Shazier didn’t run the 40-yard dash yesterday in Indianapolis because of a minor hamstring injury that he revealed to reporters on Sunday. But the injury didn’t stop him from impressing in other drills, even though he said he has a cold and sinus issues.
Shazier had a vertical jump of 42 inches, the best of any player at the combine so far. His broad jump was 10 feet, 10 inches, tops among linebackers. He did the three-cone drill in 6.91 seconds, fifth-best among linebackers, and was ninth-best at his position in the 20-yard shuttle.
Shazier also had 25 reps in the bench press, impressive for a player with his lean body type. But Shazier is no longer the skinny lad who enrolled at Ohio State weighing 198 pounds and had coaches wondering whether he would be big enough to play linebacker. He said he has added 9 pounds from his 2013 playing weight and now weighs 237.
Concern about whether Shazier is stout enough to handle the pounding of the NFL is the main reason he’s not considered a first-round pick in some mock drafts.
“If I can gain a little more, that would probably help,” Shazier said. “But I like where I’m at. I feel exactly the same. I have to continue to put it on the right way, not sloppy weight, and I feel I can maintain the speed and power I have.”
His athleticism has never been questioned, and yesterday’s performance in the jumps is further proof. A strong time in the 40-yard dash would help his chances of moving into the first round. He said he expects to run a time in the 4.4-second range. Ohio State’s Pro Day is on March 7.
Shazier is a two-time all-Big Ten player and was the conference’s leading tackler in 2013. He is leaving Ohio State with one year of eligibility left.
“I weighed the pros and cons and decided this was the best time to come out,” he said. “I don’t have any serious injuries. I feel I had a successful season.”
Shazier is not unfamiliar with the NFL. His father, Vernon, is the team chaplain for the Miami Dolphins, who were beset by the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal last year. Shazier said he stayed clear of talking about that situation with his father, but Vernon has provided a strong foundation for his son.
“He just said always work hard, treat people the way you want to be treated and always be disciplined enough to try to make yourself better because if you can’t beat yourself, you can’t beat the person across from you,” Shazier said.
Super Bowl-winning coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks was asked this weekend about his one-year stop at Ohio State in 1979 under coach Earle Bruce. The Buckeyes were undefeated until losing to Southern California — Carroll’s future team — in the Rose Bowl, denying them a national championship.
Carroll had been an assistant under Bruce at Iowa State before both came to Columbus after Woody Hayes was fired for punching a Clemson player in the Gator Bowl, though Carroll got the bowl wrong.
“We had a great season,” Carroll said. “We had come in right after Woody (Hayes) had duked the guy out in the Peach Bowl. It’s funny how your opportunities come along.”