After general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin spent Tuesday and Wednesday attending the Penn State and LSU pro days, the Steelers played host Thursday to three more potential draft prospects.
Visiting the South Side complex were Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier, UCLA inside linebacker Jordan Zumwalt and Washington State strong safety Deone Bucannon.
The Steelers have little depth at outside linebacker behind Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones and the recently signed Arthur Moats, or at inside linebacker, and they are expected to draft at least one player at both positions during the May 8-10 draft.
Shazier is one of the top-rated outside linebackers and recently ran an unofficial 4.36 in the 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s pro day. That’s defensive back-type speed for a disruptive player who was credited with 39 1/2 tackles for a loss in his final two college seasons.
Shazier is 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds, somewhat on the smallish side for an outside linebacker these days, but was the Big Ten’s leading tackler.
Zumwalt is 6-4 and 235, a big hitter who finished his college career with a 43-yard interception return against Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl. According to an NFL.com scouting report, Zumwalt “is very competitive with a fiery on-field temperament … and explosive hitter.” He is listed on some draft boards as an outside linebacker, but he played inside linebacker at UCLA.
Bucannon was a first team AP All-America player who started four years at Washington State. He had a huge numbers season in 2013 with 114 tackles, six interceptions, 4 1/2 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles. Like Zumwalt, he is considered to be a second-day pick.
Detect a trend? Of the at least 12 college players that have visited the Steelers for in-house interviews, four are defensive backs and three are wide receivers. Louisville safety Calvin Pryor met with the Steelers on Monday.
Previous visitors were Minnesota safety Brock Vereen, the brother of Patriots running back Shane Vereen; South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington,
Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk, Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown and Mississippi wide receiver Donte Moncrief.