Maybe's there's more than one way to shut receivers down

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers may have not selected a top corner with the 15th pick on Thursday night during the Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft. But in linebacker Ryan Shazier, they may have found the man who can finally replace James Farrior.

As it turned out, the Steelers did pick a decorated and highly-productive college football player when they made their selection in Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday night.

But instead of the name that would have surprised very few (Darqueze Dennard out of Mighigan St.), the name Roger Goodell announced was Ryan Shazier, the athletically gifted and lightning fast linebacker out of Ohio St.

Speaking of OSU and Shazier's productive college career, his selection marked the fifth straight draft in-which Pittsburgh netted a player with a stellar resume who played his ball for a big-time college and in a big-time conference (The Big Ten).

Like Maurkice Pouncey, Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro, and Jarvis Jones, who all preceded him as a Steelers first round pick, Shazier's college resume leaves little doubt that, while his selection may have raised quite a few eyebrows, the bottom line is finding talent that makes your football team better, and Shazier certainly has the potential to do that for Pittsburgh.

These are the kinds of drafts that perhaps can make up for reaping zero long-term benefits from two straight draft classes--2008 and 2009--and getting a team back on track to playoff success.

So, did the Steelers go out and find a potential shut-down corner to take Ike Taylor's place when he departs? No, not yet, anyway. But they may have finally found the guy who can take the place of James Farrior.

And while there's certainly more of a premium on finding corners who can shut-down receivers in today's pass-happy NFL, Shazier's 40.5 tackles for loss and 12 quarterback sacks over a two-year period shows us that maybe there's more than one way to shut-down those receivers, and that's by being a disruptive force and making life miserable for the quarterbacks who are trying to get them the ball.

If Shazier can do that enough times, I'm guessing fans will forget that he's not a cornerback.

Welcome to the Steelers, Ryan Shazier.

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