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Steelers rookie LB Ryan Shazier awesome in debut

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier epitomizes the optimism for a new, younger, faster defense in Pittsburgh.

After missing 10 days with a knee injury, the first-round pick out of Ohio State didn't miss a beat. He was all over the field early in the Steelers' 19-16 preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

The linebacker made four tackles on the Bills' opening drive alone and, for good measure, made a solo tackle on the next kickoff.

Then came his first career interception, and, boy, was it a beauty. Shazier displayed everything coaches have been raving about: speed, hip turn, route concepts, ball skills. In essence, the 6-foot-1, 237-pound linebacker looked like a safety:

Shazier ended his first game with nine tackles and the interception and caused teammates to gush. Fellow inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons defined the debut as "awesome."

"His pass coverage is awesome," Timmons added, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "You saw the tackles; he was making tackles left and right. He has the pedigree. He has all the talent and the intangibles you want in an inside linebacker."

The rookie has a long way to go to become the next great Steelers defender, but the man crushes on the defensive dynamo have already cropped up in and outside of Pittsburgh.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" talks quarterback battles and debates the gang's preseason power rankings.

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