- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
- 0 Shares
PITTSBURGH -- Here is a closer look at the Steelers' first four draft picks. A look at the Steelers' final five picks will be posted later today.
LB Ryan Shazier
College: Ohio State
Ht./Wt.: 6-1, 237
Last season: Led the Big Ten in solo tackles (103) and tackles for losses (22 ½ ). Made 143 total stops and also recorded six sacks.
Hidden number: Set an Ohio State record with nine career forced fumbles.
Upside: Shazier can flat out fly. Like Lawrence Timmons, he should be a three-down linebacker who will be disruptive around the line of scrimmage and will also be able to run with tight ends in pass coverage.
Potential red flag: Not the biggest guy and could struggle if the Steelers’ defensive line doesn’t keep blockers off of him.
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau: “I’ve been impressed with his instincts. He can diagnose and get through some trash to get to the ball. He has the athleticism to drop back into coverage and match up. It’s going to be fun with him to be honest with you.”
Shazier: “I’ve heard from the coaches that my weight is fine. I don’t want to get any bigger.”
College: Notre Dame
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 303
Last season: Recorded a career-high 50 tackles with 7 ½ sacks and nine stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Hidden number: Played at 328 pounds in 2013 after double-hernia surgery limited his training in the offseason.
Upside: Has the size and strength to stand his ground as a five-technique end; is athletic enough to provide an inside pass rush when the Steelers are in the nickel.
Potential red flag: The Steelers want Tuitt between 310 and 315 pounds and he is prone to putting on extra weight when he is injured.
Defensive line coach John Mitchell: “If this guy had been healthy coming into his junior year he probably would have been in the top 10 guys drafted. We feel like we got a steal. I don’t care what scheme you play, you have a guy who is 6-5, 310 pounds who can run and who stays on his feet and is physical and you have a pretty good football player.”
Tuitt: “It was meant for me to come to the Steelers. The history of that defense is tremendous, and I can’t wait to put it back up there. I’m ready to roll.”
RB/WR Dri Archer
College: Kent State
Round/pick: 3rd/97s overall
Ht./Wt.: 5-8, 173
Last season: Rushed for 527 yards and six touchdowns and caught 25 passes for 327 yards and four scores.
Hidden number: His 240 career points were just six shy of the school record held by Josh Cribbs
Upside: Can be a game-changer because of his breathtaking speed and versatility, and he should make an immediate impact as a kickoff returner.
Possible red flag: Won’t get a lot of touches on offense, and if he excels as a kickoff returner opposing teams may simply try to boom kickoffs out of the end zone.
Running backs coach James Saxon: “The kid is a special football player with the ball in his hands. He’s as tough as any of the kids I’ve been around and he’s going to learn to do a number of different things.”
Archer: “I have returned [kickoffs and punts] but I didn’t return too much in college. It’s something I’ve been working on this offseason when I’ve been training.”
Round/pick: 4th/118th overall
Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 211
Last season: Caught a career-high 42 passes for 828 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hidden number: His 22.2 yards per catch broke the career ACC record previously held by Herman Moore.
Upside: Has excellent size and speed, and his best football is in front of Bryant if he is willing to work for it.
Possible red flag: There are questions about his maturity and needs to become more consistent catching the ball.
Wide receivers coach Richard Mann: “He’s what I have been hunting. What I can say to you is that potentially he could be a starter. I’m not going to say he is going to start but potentially he could.”
Bryant: “When I took my [pre-draft] visit I really enjoyed the coaches. I had a great talk with the receivers coach. I told my mom the whole time I wanted to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and I’m glad they have faith and me and I won’t let them down.”