2014 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers select UCLA LB Jordan Zumwalt in 6th round


Nov 2, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (35) during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Rose Bowl. UCLA defeated Colorado 45-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If any round in the Kevin Colbert-Mike Tomlin era, the sixth round has been one that the Pittsburgh Steelers have found some useful players in the past.

Would they strike out again in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft?

After taking Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant in the fourth round and then Arizona corner Shaquille Richardson and Vanderbilt offensive tackle Wesley Johnson in the fifth round, the Steelers selected UCLA outside linebacker Jordan Zumwalt with the 192nd overall pick, the first of two sixth round selections on the day.

Outside linebacker depth is a need for the Steelers and Zumwalt at 6’4”, 235, could potentially add to that.

He is an explosive hitter that throws his body around recklessly and times up the blitz well. He is a guy who is always around the ball. Zumwalt is also a very smart player with a high football IQ who had a lot of responsibilities while in college.

Zumwalt has the intensity and versatility that screams Steelers. He has experience playing inside and outside and would provide depth at several linebacker spots for Pittsburgh. He plays fast, active and aggressive and the Steelers have put a premium on speed so far in this draft.

However while you have to like Zumwalt’s speed and intensity, there is just as much not to like.

While he plays fast, he doesn’t play very strong as he struggles to disengage from blocks when he is locked up and isn’t very reliable in coverage.

He has average athleticism and it takes him a few moments to change directions. Zumwalt needs to bulk up in a major way. His fundamentals aren’t great and there are durability questions.

At the end of the day I see him making a potential impact on special teams with a chance to work into consideration for a potential starting spot well down the road if he improves in major areas.

That’s a big if.

Here’s a look at some film on Zumwalt.

The Steelers have had some success drafting in the sixth round since Tomlin arrived in 2007, selecting Ryan Mundy (2008), Jonathan Dwyer (2010), Antonio Brown (2010) and Vince Williams (2013).

They have also missed badly on guys such as: Mike Humpel (2008), Ra’Shon Harris (2009) and Keith Williams (2011).

The jury is still out on one of last year’s sixth round picks in Justin Brown.

Will Zumwalt add to Tomlin’s and Colbert’s sixth-round successes or will he add to what is a long list of recent failed Steelers’ draft picks?

Only time will tell.

The Steelers will be back on the clock again with the last pick of the sixth round, No. 215 overall.