The Pittsburgh Steelers held their rookie minicamp last week, which was the first chance for all to get a glimpse at the team’s new draft picks in uniform—albeit without pads, but at least with a helmet and going through drills.
It’s an opportunity to get a feel for how they look on the field, to get a sense of their fluidity and their ability to learn and apply that knowledge quickly. Of course, it doesn’t tell you what kind of football player they’ll be, but first impressions are first impressions.
Mike Prisuta and Bob Labriola recapped the minicamp from last week on a Steelers.com Live segment from the team’s website yesterday, and they shared their own first impressions of some of the Steelers’ draft picks from camp.
Labriola in particular was encouraged by what he saw out of the Steelers’ first-round draft choice, inside linebacker Ryan Shazier:
One of the things that I noticed was number one pick Ryan Shazier. What I noticed about him in these workouts was he just kind of had a little bit of a presence that you would expect, or hope for, from a number one pick.
He stood out athletically, he was vocal—I won’t say he was a leader in terms of telling other people what to do, because he was just learning what to do himself, but he was the first one up in every drill. Like I said, he just had a presence, a vibe about him that you’re hoping to see out of your number one pick.
If you’ll recall, the Steelers drafted an inside linebacker last season that showed well during rookie minicamp. Vince Williams was helping his peers through their drills, and he went on to start for much of the season last year.
Shazier seems to have shown glimpses of similar traits, although if he does start, he won’t be asked to call the defense, as linebackers coach Keith Butler said that in that case, Lawrence Timmons would move to the buck and assume those duties.
Prisuta also came away impressed, describing a player who seems to have either already come to understand the way things go around the Steelers facilities or simply fits that well into how the Steelers do things.
“When [he would screw up a drill], Ryan Shazier—drop down and give me 20. That’s the protocol when the veterans get here. That’s what they’ll be doing. You’ll see that at Saint Vincent. He was doing those pushups all on his own, holding himself to the standard”.
None of this reveals anything about the type of player Shazier will be once he gets on the field, but it does provide some insight into the type of person he is, in the way he goes about his job and handles his business. He still has a long way to go to prove anything substantially meaningful, but the next step—OTAs—is just around the corner already, so hopefully we’ll hear more positive reports on him sooner rather than later.