AFC North: Logan Thomas

PITTSBURGH -- If Jordan Zumwalt turns into a sixth-round steal -- or even if he just provides depth at linebacker and a live wire on special teams -- the Steelers will have to credit former defensive quality control coach Lou Spanos with an assist.

Spanos installed a defense similar to the one the Steelers play when he joined Jim Mora's staff at UCLA in 2012. And Zumwalt made 22 of his 30 career starts for the Bruins with Spanos running the defense.

[+] EnlargeJordan Zumwalt
AP Photo/Keith SrakocicThe Steelers worked Jordan Zumwalt at both inside and outsider linebacker during their rookie minicamp.
"He's the man," Zumwalt said of Spanos, a Steelers coach from 1995-2009 who is now the Tennessee Titans' linebackers coach. "Before I came here he was talking about the Steelers way. He taught me a lot. There's a lot I can transfer onto the field and he taught me to be a better person off the field as well."

The head start that Zumwalt received in learning the Steelers' defense will be especially helpful since the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder will miss the majority of the OTA practices.

UCLA uses quarters instead of semesters to break up its school year and classes don't end in Westwood until next month. Zumwalt won't return to Pittsburgh until the last week of OTAs though he will also get to take part in the minicamp that concludes offseason practices.

Zumwalt said he will stay in touch with the coaches while he is back at UCLA and that he will study a defense that was already familiar to him before the Steelers drafted him.

"Luckily I’m coming from a very similar defense,” Zumwalt said. "It’s all just different names so you have to learn the different language but it’s all similar schemes."

Having a good base to learn the Steelers' defense is critical for Zumwalt since he will be asked to learn multiple positions. Zumwalt played both inside and outside linebacker during rookie minicamp and his versatility may be the key to his making the Steelers.

The Steelers are thin at outside linebacker, and Zumwalt may have to prove he can provide depth there as well as at inside linebacker to stick with the team.

The California kid has the potential to become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh.

He is personable, plays every game as if it may be his last one and loves to hit.

Zumwalt demolished Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas in a bowl game last December, and the hit became a YouTube sensation.

“For about a month that was the topic of every conversation,” Zumwalt said. “Hopefully I will get lucky enough to get one of those out here and be a Pittsburgh favorite.”

What should also endear Zumwalt, whose father played football at Arizona State, to Steelers fans and his new coaches: He has an appreciation for special teams.

“I really plan on being a big special-teams guy here if coach [Mike Tomlin] gives me the opportunity,” Zumwalt said. “I’d love to be on every special teams here if I got the chance.”
The Baltimore Ravens head into the final day of the 2014 draft looking for a possible future backup quarterback. There are still plenty of options remaining for the Ravens because only five quarterbacks were taken in the first two rounds and none were selected in the third round.

Here are six names to remember for the Ravens:
  • Zach Mettenberger, LSU (fourth round): Great size and arm strength but comes with character concerns.
  • AJ McCarron, Alabama (fourth round): A game manager who is extremely smart and brings tremendous leadership.
  • Aaron Murray, Georgia (fourth round): Experienced starter with a quick release but lacks size and arm strength.
  • Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (fifth or sixth round): Arguably best arm of the draft but struggled in clutch situations and big games.
  • Keith Wenning, Ball State (sixth or seventh round): Experienced and clutch starter but has an average arm.
  • Jeff Matthews, Cornell (sixth or round): Strong-armed and accurate passer who lacks ideal athleticism.

Quarterback is a need for the Ravens because Tyrod Taylor has been less than impressive and is entering the final year of his contract. If the Ravens draft a quarterback, the rookie could serve as No. 3 on the depth chart this year and replace Taylor as the primary backup to Joe Flacco in 2015.

There is a possibility that the Ravens could have a shot at signing either Case Keenum or T.J. Yates, both of whom played under new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak in Houston. The Texans could end up releasing one of them if they draft a quarterback or trade for the Patriots' Ryan Mallett, who could be available after New England drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round.

Another option is signing a veteran free agent after the draft like David Carr. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2002 draft, Carr played one season under Kubiak in Houston but he was out of football last year.

The Ravens' remaining picks are: fourth round (Nos. 134 and 138), fifth round (No. 175) and sixth round (No. 194).

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