The Pittsburgh Steelers weren't just whistling Dixie. Kevin Colbert had implied earlier in the week that the Steelers would explore every avenue at their disposal to build the roster and strengthen their weaknesses. He discussed a willingness to trade up in the draft to acquire a impact player, a aggressive maneuver that goes against the Steelers normal modus operandi. It's not like the Steelers never trade up in the first round, they have been very successful in the past when they have done so, it's something that just doesn't happen very often. It has to be a confluence of cost and demand, of immediate need and limited availability, slim pickings if you will. This draft proved to be the perfect storm.
With the Cincinnati Bengals sitting with the 11th pick of the opening round and waiting with bated breath for the Denver Broncos to make their selection, it looked to all the world that the Bengals were preparing to add the top rated inside linebacker left on the board to their roster. That was the most highly anticipated move being prophesied for the Bengals through the mock draft silly season, but some prophecies never come to fruition. The Steelers worked out a trade with the Broncos to move ahead of the Bengals and they used the 10th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft to select Michigan ILB Devin Bush, universally recognized as the second best inside linebacker prospect in this draft class. With LSU LB Devin White off the board, Bush had to be one of the highest rated players left on the Steelers wish list at a tremendous area of need. Kevin Colbert and the Steelers did what they had to do to get their desired target, something they were seemingly unable to accomplish during the 2018 NFL Draft. Mission accomplished.
Now to accurately evaluate the pick, we must consider a trio of variables. We must examine Devin Bush's athleticism and intangibles, how his abilities will strengthen the Steelers defense, and his overall fit with the Steelers organization. At first glance, Bush grades out quite well.
Devin Bush the player is a sideline to sideline tackling machine, a true pursuit linebacker. He is slightly undersized at 5'11" and 234 lbs., but plays larger than his measurements. He is ultra aggressive and arrives at the ballcarrier with bad intentions. His impressive speed and COD (change of direction) skills helps him excel in coverage, an ability that I am sure the Steelers found very attractive. I don't want to put undue pressure on the young man; because nobody can replace Ryan Shazier's otherworldly speed and the leadership impact of his competitive spirit, but Bush's selection will go a long way toward filling the huge hole left in the middle of the Steelers defense with Shazier's departure.
Bush's turnover numbers were pretty underwhelming during his time at Michigan and it is an area he will need to focus on improving moving forward in his professional career. The Steelers were evidently not too concerned, which is understandable when you consider the level of his abilities.
Bush also appears to be a great fit for the Steelers and their team culture. He reportedly has a love for the game, the desire to compete, and a strong respect for those who came before him. He understands his place in the Steelers legacy of great linebackers. The son of a former NFL player, he should have no shortage of strong council as he weaves his way through the potential minefield facing any rookie and newly minted millionaire.
So what did the Steelers give up to get Devin Bush? To swap first round selections with Denver the Steelers gave the Broncos the 20th pick in the first round, their second round selection (52 overall pick) this year, and a third round selection in next year's draft. In my opinion, that is an acceptable price to pay to move up and select the inside linebacker prospect you feel will solidify your defense and fill a glaring need.
Therefore I give the Steelers selection of Devin Bush a overall grade of B.
Bush fills a definite area of need and appears to be a great fit with the Steelers. However, the Steelers did have to move up to get him, and I truly feel he may have been their second choice.
What grade do you give this Steelers selection? Please vote in the attached poll and share your explanations in the comments below.
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Devin Bush! From all of us at Steelers Nation!
What overall grade do you give this Pittsburgh Steelers selection?
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A = Excellent pick
B = Above average selection
C = Solid selection
D = Below average selection
F = Terrible selection