Thanks to a groin injury suffered early on in training camp, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt missed valuable practice time. To his credit, however, the Steelers first of two sixth-round draft picks back in May managed to overcome the injury in enough time to receive valuable playing time on defense during the team’s preseason opener against the New York Giants.
While Zumwalt played reasonably well in the 25 snaps that he played at inside linebacker with the Steelers third-team defense Saturday night, there is one phase of his game that he will need to show that he contribute greatly in that he wasn’t allowed to do against the Giants if he is to make the final 53 man roster out of training camp.
As our very own Alex Kozora smartly pointed out on Twitter, Zumwalt didn’t receive any playing time Saturday night on special teams against the Giants.
While we don’t know the real reason as to why that was, it’s probably easy to speculate that all of his missed practice time due to his injury played a role in that. In other words, Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith probably wasn’t sure if the UCLA product would even play against the Giants, so he formulated the rotation of players on his units with that in mind.
It’s still early and with three preseason games still left to be played, I expect that Zumwalt will be included in Smith’s plans moving forward. The Steelers will host the Buffalo Bills this coming Saturday night at Heinz field, so keep a close eye out for Zumwalt on all four of the main coverage and return units.
The Steelers appear to be pretty stacked at the inside linebacker position as of right now, so even if Zumwalt does see his special teams snaps increase, it’s still no guarantee that he will make the final roster unless he really makes an impact.