Reports immediately following the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft had the Dallas Cowboys primed to select Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier with the 16th overall pick. The Steelers prevented that by taking him at 15.
Along with the Cowboys, another NFC team had their eyes on the uber-athletic linebacker.
According to Charlie Campbell of Walter Football, the Green Bay Packers wanted Shazier at 21, if he was available, with the hopes of combating San Francisco's mobile quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The 49ers have bounced the Packers from the playoffs in consecutive years, the first of which exposed a Packers run defense that allowed Kaepernick to run free, gaining an NFL-record 181 quarterback rushing yards. He didn't quite have the same impact in a frozen day at Lambeau Field in the 2013 season playoffs, but Green Bay remembered what Kaepernick is capable of if a defense doesn't have the outside speed to stop him.
Shazier fits that profile well, and Green Bay would have been wise to take him.
The Packers felt that the lightning-fast Shazier could be the answer to the riddle of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. With Kaepernick's scrambling threat and ability to make throws on the run, the Packers felt that Shazier would be a perfect spy. He has the speed to chase down Kaepernick when he breaks out of the pocket. As Packers source explained, "It takes a wolf to catch wolf."
The wolf that is Shazier has been impressive so far in training camp, more for the brawn he's displaying than the speed he possesses. The former was a question mark while the latter was well-known. The question for Shazier now is whether he can put it all together along with learning the nuances of the Steelers defense. If he can, you're looking at a legitimate Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.