After a rookie year marred by injury, Ryan Shazier hopes to break out in 2015. Today, he made NFL.com Chris Wesseling’s “Making the Leap” list for breakout candidates for next year.
Coming in at number 18 out of a list of 20, Wesseling recaps the Pittsburgh Steelers’ praise for Shazier right after drafting him in 2014. He turned to the rookie’s Shazier stellar NFL debut in the first preseason game against the Buffalo Bills before recapping his MCL injury that derailed the rest of his rookie campaign.
In the articles, he balances the optimism with obstacles, noting Shazier “will have to do a better job of putting himself in the right position and fighting through heavy traffic.”
This will only be heightened if the Steelers, as all accounts indicate, continue to one-gap their defensive line.
Still, Wessleing remains optimistic, pointing out learning under former linebackers coach Keith Butler is only going to quicken his progress.
“We fully expect Shazier to rack up more than 100 tackles and force a handful of turnovers if he stays out of the trainer’s room this season. If he can reach those numbers without surrendering big plays to overpursuit, Pro Bowls will soon follow,” he concludes.
Let’s hope he’s right.