Jordan Zumwalt NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Steelers OLB

Darren PageFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

Nov 2, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (35) during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Rose Bowl. UCLA defeated Colorado 45-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zumwalt, OLB, UCLA (HT: 6’4” WT: 235 lbs.)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Sixth Round: 192nd Pick

NFL Comparison: Kelvin Sheppard, LB, Indianapolis Colts

Combine Weigh-In
604023531 1/4"8 3/4"
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle


  • Taller linebacker with adequate length. 
  • Agile to flow laterally and keep shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. 
  • Quick to accelerate and close coming forward. 
  • Has sufficient functional strength and balance to take on blocks and stay on his feet. 
  • Can elude blockers in space and get back on pursuit angles quickly. 
  • Flexible to dip underneath or around blocks. 
  • Disruptive in the backfield on run blitzes with fine timing and burst through holes. 
  • Hits above his weight as a tackler, generates power to deliver impactful blows. 
  • Lowers the boom on vulnerable receivers or even quarterbacks. 
  • Wraps well as a tackler to get ball carriers to the ground and limits yards after contact. 
  • Plays and practices with a noted intensity. 
  • Versatile, played multiple linebacker positions for UCLA. 
  • Tough player who is almost physical beyond his means. 
  • Frame may be able to handle more weight or bulk. 
  • Highly experienced at the collegiate level.


  • Very lean frame, not an overwhelming presence between the tackles. 
  • Tightly-wound athlete with little fluidity to his movement. 
  • Doesn’t cover a lot of ground in pass coverage due to mechanical movements. 
  • Not an inventive rusher by any means, little usage of his hands or specific moves. 
  • Does an inconsistent job reading keys and quickly reacting. 
  • Hesitant to fit the run, sits on his heels and is run up on by blockers. 
  • Had issues locating the football against misdirection-based offenses. 
  • Lacks hand usage and pad level to pick through congestion in the box. 
  • Doesn’t extend his hands to create space and disengage from run blockers well. 
  • Fails to shorten strides and break down in space to make tackles, very hit or miss. 
  • Lets aiming point get too high on hits to defenseless players. 
  • Plays with too much energy and not enough discipline at times, leads to wasted movement and poor positioning.


Collegiate Statistics

Personal Notes

  • A 3-star prospect as a recruit in class of 2010, 26th-ranked inside linebacker by ESPN
  • Made 30 career starts across all four years at UCLA. 
  • 2013 Honorable Mention All-Pac-12.

Ratings Chart

Graph made at



Jordan Zumwalt was one of the players whose mentality and energy level was most palpable during Senior Bowl week. The energy level and physicality he plays with comes through on and off the practice field, and that’s exactly what teams look for in competition at the linebacker spot. It’s also something that comes through in special teams contributors.

That’s where Zumwalt most likely fits in the immediate future. In a starting role, some of his athletic deficiencies and overall inconsistency would be exposed. Zumwalt’s inconsistencies: reading keys, tackling with proper technique and getting off blocks leave a lot to be desired. He doesn't particularly stand out as a coverage guy, either.


Draft Projection: Fifth-Sixth Round


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