The 2014 NFL Draft is 27 days away and if public reports are any indication, the Pittsburgh Steelers still have 19 pre-collegiate visitors to invite to their training complex on the South Side.
This past week the Steelers have welcomed three such NCAA hopefuls:
- Deone Bucannon, strong safety out of Washington State
- Jordan Zumwalt, linebacker out of UCLA
- Ryan Shizier, out of Ohio State linebacker
News that Shizier would visit Pittsburgh broke weeks ago, but Behind the Steel Curtain’s Neal Coolong characterized Zumwalt’s visit as a surprise, although the Steelers were linked to him at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
While the Steelers are potentially deep at inside linebacker with Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Terence Garvin and, health allowing, Sean Spence, neither Williams or Garvin are looked at as 3 down players. Newly signed free agent linebacker Arthur Moats is primarily an outside linebacker, but has position flexibility to move inside should the need arise.
- Zumwalt is projected as a mid round prospect, and would need to be groomed for the position.
Shizier is projected as a late first round pick and someone the Steelers would have interest in should they trade down or should Shizier fall to day two, but given his athleticism he is not likely to fall.
- Deone Bucannon’s name also raises eyebrows, given that he’s the second safety, after Calvin Prior, of Louisville, to visit the South Side. Like Prior, Bucannon is expected to go early in the draft.
The Steelers of course recently signed Michael Mitchell, extended Troy Poalmalu’s contract, traded up to get Shamarko Thomas, and resigned Will Allen to a one year deal. The Steelers are certainly not targeting safety in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft, but due diligence is a must.