The Pittsburgh Steelers made a move during the 2019 NFL Draft many didn’t expect them to make. They traded up 10 spots, giving up valuable draft stock in the process, to select Devin Bush 10th overall out of the University of Michigan.
What most didn’t think about what how this would look to the man who used to patrol that area of the defense. Mr. Ryan Shazier.
How difficult must it have been for Shazier to watch the Steelers make the move, yet completely understand why they did it at the same time. As Shazier continues to recover from his spinal chord injury suffered in December of 2017, he has been mentoring the young linebacker and helping him through those growing pains he knows all too well.
“I thought he had a great game,” Shazier told Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s making a lot of plays. He’s starting to become a playmaker. . . .
“You can definitely tell he’s getting more comfortable. We knew it would come. It takes time.”
This praise came after the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Los Angeles chargers on Sunday Night Football. A night where Bush led the team in tackles, had an interception and a fumble recovery which he took back for a touchdown.
Not a bad day at the office, and some might say it was a very Shazier-like night for the first round pick. But it isn’t just Shazier who is noticing Bush’s overall ability. Other members of the defense are starting to take notice.
“He’s just a really good player,” Joe Haden said of Bush. “He’s always around the ball. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He’s a very instinctive player. He’s very ball aware.”
‘Very ball aware’ might be an understatement. The Steelers have 15 takeaways this year, the same amount of takeaways they had in all 16 regular season games last year, and Bush has been a part of 6 of those takeaways in one way or another. He just seems to have a knack for finding the football, or is the football finding him?
Either way, as Bush puts together a rookie season which should have him in consideration for the Defensive Rookie of the Year, the Steelers are starting to see the playmaker they knew they drafted after trading up to get him. As Shazier said, it takes time, but Bush is only going to get better — and that is a scary proposition for opposing offenses for years to come.