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Monday, May 19, 2014

Steelers news and notes

The Steelers concluded their rookie orientation over the weekend, with the big news being the work of Jordan Zumwalt, a sixth round pick, at both inside and outside linebacker.

The pick of Zumwalt was deemed as curious to some because the Steelers had already selected inside linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round. But at 6-4, 236, Zumwalt has the length to line up outside as well - if he can develop some kind of pass rush moves.

Remember, he played at UCLA, which ran a defense similar to what the Steelers employ under the tutelage of former Steelers assistant Lou Spanos. And Zumwalt was the play caller for the Bruins, which means he should have a pretty good working knowledge of the defense.

Zumwalt isn't being counted on as a starter. So if he's going to make this team as a special teams ace - which is what the Steelers envision - it will help his cause greatly if he can provide some position flexibility.

* I've seen numerous reports of teams who wanted to get into position to draft Shazier, whom the Steelers selected with the 15th pick in the first round.

Dallas was going to take him at 16 if the Steelers did not, and Green Bay, which picked a few spots later, was also hot for the speedy linebacker.

The latest team that emerged with an interest in Shazier is Atlanta, which reportedly tried to trade up after making its first-round pick to get him. The Falcons found the price to move up out of the early portion of the second round to be too steep.

* The Steelers signed a pair of their draft picks, nose tackle Daniel McCullers and tight end Rob Blanchflower, to four-year contracts on Monday.

Those are the easy ones and come at no real cost against the cap. But the higher-drafted players won't be signing until after June 1.

* The Steelers will add 3,000 seats to Heinz Field for the 2015 season. No tax money will be used to finance the seating. But ticket holders will see a surcharge of $1 to help finance the expansion.

* Saw a photo on Twitter today showing three former Towson players together in the Browns' locker room.

That has to be neat for Towson, but I'm not sure what it says about the Browns.

OK, maybe I am. It would be a lot better for Cleveland if those three players were all from, say, Alabama, instead of Towson, which, last time I checked isn't going to be confused for a football factory.


marc said...

any chance to see tuitt in action? I am curious as to your thoughts on the probability of him earning the starting spot opposite of heyward. 70% chance?


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Towson the Alabama of the FCS? Hey, it's not like the Browns don't play a level down from the NFL...

Dale Lolley said...

You can tell very little about linemen in those kind of settings because there's little contact.

That said, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Tuitt ends up starting better than half the games this season.

Towson's current's coach has a 32-28 record at the school. Hardly makes him Nick Saban