If you are thinking that the Pittsburgh Steelers reached Thursday night in order to draft Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, you would be wrong, as the team picking right behind them was ready to pounce on him if bypassed.
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Dallas Cowboys, owners of the 16th overall selection, were all set to draft Shazier. In fact the Cowboys were reportedly even on the phone with Shazier’s agent to let him know that he was going to be their selection.
Dallas Cowboys were ready to select Ryan Shazier at No. 16 until #Steelers grabbed him. Agent was on phone w Cowboys.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) May 9, 2014
Matt Mosley, who covers the Cowboys for Fox Sports, has even reported that Dallas owner Jerry Jones has confirmed that Shazier was one of two remaining players on the board that his team was targeting. The other player, Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin, wound up being the Cowboys selection after the Steelers drafted Shazier.
Jerry Jones confirms the Cowboys were targeting four players: Barr, Donald, Shazier and Martin.
— Matt Mosley (@mattmosley) May 9, 2014
While many fans are struggling with the decision made by general manager Kevin Colbert to ignore the cornerback position in order to draft Shazier, who will play inside linebacker in the Steelers defense, he certainly didn’t reach.
As it turns out, the top remaining cornerback on the board that the Steelers decided to pass up, Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, ultimately didn’t get drafted until nine picks later when the Cincinnati Bengals selected him with 24th overall pick.