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Steelers Select LB Jordan Zumwalt in the Sixth Round

JORDAN ZUMWALTLinebackerUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins6-4, 235Huntington Beach, CaliforniaThomas Edison High School6th Round – 192nd Overall


Photos of Sixth-Round Draft Pick linebacker Jordan Zumwalt from UCLA.

Zumwalt started 30-of-50 contests at UCLA – four at weak side outside linebacker and one in the middle as a freshman; adding four starts in the middle as a sophomore; nine at strong-side outside linebacker as a junior and 13 at weak-side inside linebacker during his final campaign…Finished with 256 tackles (164 solos) that included two sacks for minus 11 yards, 22.0 stops for losses of 75 yards five forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two blocked kicks, advancing a blocked punt nine yards…Deflected two passes and intercepted two others…Also gained 12 yards on a reception.

Zumwalt earned All-Pac 12 Conference second-team accolades from The NFL Draft Report and received honorable mention from the league's coaches…The Butkus Award Watch List member and 2014 Senior Bowl invitee was also named co-MVP after his performance vs. Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl…Finished second on the team with a career-high 93 tackles (54 solos) that included 5.5 stops for minus 16 yards…Caused three fumbles and intercepted two passes for 46 yards in returns…The senior was presented with the Kenneth S. Washington Award for Outstanding Senior of the Year (defense) at the team's annual banquet…Opened the season with seven tackles, including one for a loss vs. Nevada and made nine hits (six solos) the following week vs. Nebraska…Totaled nine tackles vs. Stanford and posted 14 hits (10 solos) with a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Oregon…Picked off a pass and caused a fumble vs. Washington, as he also was in on seven hits with a 12-yard reception vs. Arizona State…Recorded eight tackles vs. Southern California and closed out his career with ten tackles and a 43-yard interception return vs. Virginia Tech vs. Sun Bowl.

Zumwalt started nine of the 13 games he appeared in, ranking fourth on the team with 71 tackles (52 solos), adding two sacks for minus 11 yards and eight stops for losses of 25 yards…Also caused two fumbles and recovered another…Posted seven tackles, including two for loss, one sack, one forced fumble vs. Nebraska...Added a tackle for loss vs. Oregon State and registered 10 stops at Arizona State that included two tackles for loss and one sack…Made another stop behind the line of scrimmage and blocked a punt that he returned nine yards at Washington State…Delivered five stops vs. Southern California and led the team with 12 tackles, one for loss, in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game at Stanford…Finished the year with 14 tackles (nine solos), one fumble recovery and one forced fumble vs. Baylor in the Holiday Bowl.

Zumwalt spent the bulk of the season at strong side outside linebacker before starting four late season games at middle linebacker…Recorded 60 tackles (38 solos), ranking third on the team, with six of those stops behind the line of scrimmage…Broke up one pass and intercepted another…Came off the bench at Houston to make five tackles, one for loss...Started vs. San Jose State and totaled five tackles...Came off the bench vs. Texas and made eight stops, adding four tackles, 1.5 for loss at Oregon State...Collected four tackles, one for loss, in a start at Stanford…Delivered eight tackles in the Pac-12 Championship game at Oregon and tied for the team lead with 10 tackles, two for loss, as he also returned an interception 10 yards vs. Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Zumwalt appeared in 11 games, moving late in the season to middle linebacker, as he combined for four starts…The Defensive tri-winner of UCLA's John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year, Zumwalt was also named to the Freshman All-Pac 10 team, as he totaled 32 tackles (20 solos) with three stops for losses of 22 yards.

Zumwalt attended Thomas Edison (Huntington Beach, Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach Dave White...Lettered four times on the gridiron…A four-star recruit by both and, the EA Sports All-American second-team selection was rated the fourth-best inside linebacker and ranked as the 205th national overall prospect in the nation by… placed him ninth among the nation's elite middle line-backers and Super Prep rated him the 38th-best player in the West…The Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100 pick was named as an honorable mention for the Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West team…During his final season, the defender registered 164 tackles with 3.5 sacks and ten more stops behind the line of scrimmage…His performance saw Zumwalt be selected as the SoCal Defensive Player of the Year, adding MaxPreps All-California first-team honors…Chosen the Orange County Register Defensive Player of the Year and CIF-SS Pac-5 Division Defensive Player of the Year following his senior year…The two-time Defensive MVP of the Sunset League also lettered two seasons in basketball and one year in wrestling.

Zumwalt is a General Studies student…Son of Nanette and Rick Zumwalt…Father played football at Arizona State (1986-87)...Mother was a three-sport athlete in high school...Born Jordan Dean Zumwalt on 10/13/91 in LaHabra, California…Resides in Huntington Beach, California.

Linebackers Coach Keith Butler RE 6th Round Pick Jordan Zumwalt

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Keith Butler:** He is a UCLA kid that played in a very similar defense that we want here. The transition for him will probably be a little bit easier. Lou Spanos was the coordinator out there last year. They did a lot of similar things that we do. They did some things that normally colleges do so that will be a little bit different for him. A lot of colleges play field defenses, and that is what they did out there a little bit. The nomenclature is a lot of the same so it is probably going to be a pretty easy transition for this kid in terms of trying to learn our defense.

He's an inside guy but does he have the versatility to play outside?

He's a long, tall kid, but I would see him as an inside guy too at this point. He's a kid that can provide some backup for us, and he should be able to play some special teams for us. Great competition at the inside linebacker position, we are going to have some.

Is that what you go for in the sixth round?

I think we look for the highest guy on the board at that point in time in terms of what grade we put on him. Sometimes it meets a need and sometimes he's just the highest guy on the board, the best player on the board. This guy was probably the best player on the board for us.

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2nd part How high did you jump with Shazzier available in the first round?

I like him a lot. You try to fit a need and we thought with him we couldn't pass him up when he was there. There were a lot of guys we liked around that area but all those guys got drafted. So when he came and he had that type of speed, you can't pass something like that up. He's going to make us immediately faster on defense, which is going to help. It looks like to me we are going to have three guys sub (4.4) on defense right now. I'm talking about Shamarko Thomas and the kid we got from Carolina and this kid. Sub (4.4) for a linebacker is moving.

Re: Carnell said he would take him if you didn't like him:

Carnell was a linebacker in college too and he moved back, but I'm not in favor of doing that.

Re: Shazzier Similar size to Timmons:

No Lawrence is bigger than him. I want him to move. I don't want him to get so big that he can't move. A lot of times young linebackers get in their head, I have to weigh 250 or I have to weigh 260, that's bull crap to me. Pardon my language folks but to me, can they move? Can they get where they need to be when they need to be there? This guy can do that. This guy can make mistakes. Shazzier can make mistakes and has make-up speed to get back into position and make plays.

Do you like Ryan Shazier playing around 235-240 pounds?

I don't know if he's going to be 235, but we'll see. I don't know if he's that much now, but James Farrior played at 225-230 his last few years in the league and he was a Pro Bowl guy. One year I thought he should have been NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and he played at 230. Larry Foote played at 230-235 and Lawrence (Timmons) is the biggest guy we've had inside in recent years. With the defense we play, we kind of cover them up and let them run a little bit. What's happening today is there are multiple receiver personnel groups, like 60-65% of the time that's the case. It's not 50-50 anymore, but trending more towards that. This guy fits the part of the game that is starting to put faster people on the field. We're going to try and match them.

Has speed been something that has been lacking on defense the past couple of years?

Larry Foote got hurt last year so we moved Lawrence inside to take Larry's position when we played our sub-package. Then we would move Troy Polamalu down to linebacker, and Troy had done this before. We were playing Troy on second-down in that situation too. I think this will take a little bit of pressure off of him and maybe on third-down we'll have a new package. We have a few ideas.

Will Timmons play the Buck position?

Probably. That's probably the best move to make right now. It probably will be easier for him as well. Normally if you think about that position in our defense, linebacker wise, the buck position is the one that makes most of the plays. Historically that's been the case even before I was here. We'll see what happens with that.

What can a guy like Joey Porter do for Jarvis Jones?

I think he can help him immensely. He and Jarvis are probably the same guy. Their style of play, Jarvis might be a little different than Joey, but not much. Joey has always had an attitude when he played and we need some of that. I've already told the story of him going out to the bus to try to pull everybody off the bus. I want that type of attitude in that room. Joey, that's the way he played. A lot of people say that he was a loud mouth and maybe he was but he backed that mess up. If you don't back it up, it's hollow. He was a good player for us not only when he was young, but when he got older too. I think he has a passion for coaching. He loves it. He loves to be on the field working with those guys. He has a really good knowledge base to do it.

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Re: On Jarvis Jones:

He's put in a lot of work. He is trying to get stronger. If you watch his progression from the beginning of the season to the later part of the season he improved quite a bit. I think he'll be a lot better. He pretty much didn't know where to line up last year. If somebody wasn't there to help him and tell him what he was supposed to be doing he was a half a second slow. The great thing about playing in this defense is that it is tough to play in your first year, but the second year everything slows down. If it slows down for him mentally it will be a lot easier for him. Hopefully that will be the case.

Re: Sean Spence:

From what I've seen on the field, I know I said about a year or two ago that it would be miraculous if he came back, and I hope he proves me wrong. It is getting really close to being miraculous. He looks real good to me. We will see how the knee holds up when he starts hitting and things like that. Right now I'm real encouraged by the way he looks. He is such an exceptional young man and you hope that it works out for him, and I think it will.

Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt Conference Call Transcript

What were your thoughts when the Steelers selected you?

Finally. And thank you for being the Steelers. [Laughs]

How tough is it waiting to be drafted?

You remember when you were a kid and you were waiting for Christmas? But it's like you get to meet Santa this time. You know what I mean? It's pretty tough.

Is Mike Tomlin like Santa Claus then?

[Laughing] Yeah, I guess you could sort of say that.

Is the Steelers physical defense a perfect fit for your style of play?

Absolutely. I would love to play in this defense and I got that opportunity. It's like a dream come true right here. I'm very excited about it, yes.

What can you bring to the Steelers defense?

I love the game. I have a lot of passion for the game and if you've seen me play then you know what I can bring. I'm going to bring everything that I have possible to bring to the defense.

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