The Pittsburgh Steelers have been searching for an elite talent at the outside linebacker position for quite some time now. They need someone the team can really build the defense around, and they may have just found their guy in May’s 2014 NFL Draft. No, I’m not talking about first-round pick Ryan Shazier; I am talking about sixth-round pick Jordan Zumwalt.
Zumwalt, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound physical specimen, was the lesser known UCLA outside linebacker who thrived in Anthony Barr‘s shadow during his tenure with the team.
Zumwalt certainly fits the bill of a throwback style Pittsburgh outside linebacker with his passion and fiery temper on display during every single play which tends to set the tone for his teammates. He is an explosive hitter who recklessly uses his own body to inflict pain on opposing players. He displays a great understanding and knowledge of the game and blitzes as well as any player in this past year’s draft class. His versatility is something Pittsburgh will certainly use as he has experience as an inside and outside linebacker, as well as fullback.
Zumwalt is tight-hipped and is not the best of athletes from the position in terms of speed and agility. He lacks in power and strength and can be overpowered easily, but he will not back down from any player. He “catches” tackles too often and needs to learn how to use his fiery passion and temper to run through the oncoming ball carrier.
Zumwalt will be in the mix this season with players such as Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Arthur Moats and Chris Carter for the outside backer position. While Jones and Worilds are the likely starters, do not sleep on Zumwalt this season. The former UCLA pass rusher will see the field plenty this season and will make an incredible impact for Pittsburgh during the 2014 season.