The Steelers have been around the Michigan State football program quite a bit in recent years. They spent a considerable amount of time with running back Le'Veon Bell before selecting him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. They've been around cornerback Darqueze Dennard this year, and could make him their choice with the 15th overall pick in this year's draft.
In that time, they've obviously noticed linebacker Max Bullough. The former Spartans two-time captain even said he's talked with them quite a bit. MLive.com reporter Mike Griffith noted in a recent piece on Bullough that the Steelers and Bullough have become fast friends.
"The Steelers have been a great defense for years, (and) I've talked to the Steelers quite a few times, that's a great program they have over there,'' Bullough told Griffith. "It's definitely interesting to talk to those guys, especially a storied program like the Steelers.''
The word "Steelers" is linked throughout NFL history with the phrase "outstanding linebackers." From a leadership standpoint, the franchise has had plenty of those, and that's one characteristic Bullough is known for. Even his head coach, Mark Dantonio, is quick to point out his leadership capabilities.
"If you draft Max Bullough, you’re not only getting a football player, you’re getting a leader," he said. "You’re getting a guy that’s been around success."
They'd also be getting a player who was suspended for the team's Rose Bowl game, a win over Ohio State, that would have been Bullough's 40th as a member of the Michigan State program. He doesn't speak to the reason behind his suspension, but admits he "made a mistake," and it's said the suspension won't affect his draft stock, which is said to put him around the 4-6 round range.
The Steelers have likely penciled in Vince WIlliams as their buck inside linebacker for the 2014 season, and also are weighing the health of 2012 third round draft pick Sean Spence - who hasn't played since a knee injury in the preseason of his rookie year. Depth is limited at the position, but could also start free agent signee Arthur Moats.