Jordan Zumwalt is a fierce football player. Watch any highlight real from his time at UCLA and you can literally see the determination and downright anger the man plays the game with. It were these attributes and much more which had Pittsburgh Steelers fans itching to see what Zumwalt would bring to the team in his rookie season.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, Zumwalt dealt with nagging injuries in the preseason which eventually lead him to the Steelers' injured reserve list for the 2014 season. Often forgotten in the shuffle of the upcoming NFL Draft, Zumwalt certainly could be a part of the Steelers' plans in 2015.
For a player with essentially no NFL experience, what can Steelers fans expect from Zumwalt this season? Exactly what he brought to the table while leading the UCLA Bruins.
Zumwalt is a versatile linebacker who is capable of playing both inside and outside linebacker, but looking at the team's depth chart at both positions, it will be difficult for Zumwalt to crack the starting lineup barring major injury to a more experienced player. Although this situation doesn't bode well for Zumwalt seeing the field, there is one area he could, and should, excel in - special teams.
Zumwalt could be the next on the list of long special team aces the Steelers have had in recent history. Whether it was Sean Morey, Brett Keisel early in his career or even James Harrison before getting his time to shine as an outside linebacker, the Steelers have always seemed to have a special teams player who leads by example by doing whatever it takes to make a play. Understanding their role on the team, and doing everything in their power on that play to help the team win.
Being completely honest, Zumwalt has to feel some pressure heading into the 2015 offseason workouts. His spot on the team is no guarantee. Again, add in little or no experience with the depth at inside linebacker and suddenly Zumwalt might be just the latest draft pick to be tossed to the curb.
Hopefully Zumwalt can embrace whatever role is given to him as he heads into 2015, as the Steelers would be wise to keep a player like him around. Entering only his second season, he could develop into a solid depth player and see time in specific sub packages to emphasize his strengths and further help the defense wreak havoc on the field.
Zumwalt is another one of those players, brimming with potential. Only time will tell if the Steelers ever see his potential come to fruition, but I for one am hoping to see more of Jordan Zumwalt in 2015.