It’s hard for any player to make the club if he’s always in tub. It’s especially hard if those players are rookie late round draft picks. Such is the case this year during the first full week of training camp practices as two Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks have already found themselves observing practices from afar.
Sixth-round linebacker Jordan Zumwalt and seventh-round tight end Rob Blanchflower are the two Steelers players that have unfortunately been fallen by injuries early on in camp.
Zumwalt, who tweaked his groin during Monday’s practice, failed to practice Wednesday and head coach Mike Tomlin described as day-to-day following practice.
Zumwalt, as you may remember, also missed all of the OTA practices during the spring due to graduation rules, so the additional time that he’s missing early on in training camp does not bode well for him, as he runs the risk of falling even further behind than he might already be.
As for Blanchflower, he’s dealing with a left high ankle sprain and Tomlin said Wednesday that the Massachusetts product could miss a week or so with it. The young tight end missed several games during his senior season due to a bilateral hernia and that, in all likelihood, was the main reason why he dropped so far in the draft. Even when he was healthy enough to play on Saturday’s last season, the injury prevented him from practicing quite a bit.
In the case of both Zumwalt and Blanchflower, they play positions that are normally expected to contribute on special teams, so not being on the field to catch the eye of coach Danny Smith also hurts their chances of making the final 53 man roster.
As we have pointed out in a few previous post, history has shown us that we can expect a few of the draft picks won’t make the club this year. As of right now, both Zumwalt and Blanchflower are at risk of adding to that history if neither of them can get out of the tub and back onto the Saint Vincent practice fields.