Being asked to be position flexible should be as surprising to Steelers rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt as the sun rising in the east.
He was nothing if not position flexible in his time at UCLA. He played four different linebacker spots for the Bruins in 30 career starts, racking up 93 tackles - including 5.5 for loss - in his final season there.
He played outside linebacker during the Steelers' rookie minicamp, which began Friday and will conclude Sunday, but, as Post Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette noted, he will be asked to learn both positions.
The real issue with Zumwalt, and fifth round pick Shaquille Richardson, isn't what they're being asked to do, it's the fact they'll have to miss all but the final week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) due to an NFL rule that prohibits draft picks from joining their teams until their school's classes let out for the summer. Steelers 2013 third round pick Markus Wheaton and 2012 first round pick David DeCastro had the same issue in their respective years.
So Zumwalt will get a thick list of assignments to work on, highlighting two positions, as he will have to prepare individually to help bolster depth at both inside linebacker positions; two of the more tenuous positions on the Steelers' roster right now. First round pick Ryan Shazier looks to be the favorite to start at mack inside linebacker opposite Lawrence Timmons (buck). Veteran Arthur Moats is vying with third-year LB Sean Spence and 2013 starter Vince Williams for key supporting roles. On the outside, Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds have the two starting positions locked down with veteran Chris Carter entering 2014 as the top back-up. Zumwalt's best chance of making this team will be to show ability both inside and outside, and perform well on special teams.