Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier (left) thought he was headed to Dallas until the Steelers
swooped in at No. 15. (Keith Srakocic/AP)
The Pittsburgh Steelers added some youth and athleticism to a defensive unit in desperate need of both attributes when they selected Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier with the No. 15 overall pick.
Shazier will get the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the Steelers, but that opportunity nearly came with a different team.
According to reports, Shazier and his camp were on the phone with the Cowboys, who owned the No. 16 overall pick in the draft, when Shazier was selected by Pittsburgh. In fact, Shazier's family was preparing to let everyone know he was headed to Dallas.
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"I'm in the middle of writing a text that Dallas is going to take him and the phone rings and it's the Steelers," Vernon Shazier, Ryan Shazier's father, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Good thing I didn't send out that text ... I think he ended up in the right place."
Shazier was one of three players the Cowboys were targeting at No. 16 overall, along with Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who went to the St. Louis Rams at No. 13 overall, and Anthony Barr, who went ninth to the Minnesota Vikings.
Shazier's draft day may have been hectic, but the fact that two of the NFL's most storied franchises were determined not to let him fall to the second half of the first round must give him some confidence as he looks to prove he was deserving of the selection when he takes the field for rookie camp.