The Pittsburgh Steelers made a daring trade on opening night of the 2019 draft and moved up 10 slots from #20 to #10 and with the pick chose Devin Bush from the University of Michigan.
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert are super excited about this kid and why not? After all, CBS Sports had him ranked as the 11th best player overall in this year’s draft and at linebacker, they and others had him ranked as the second best linebacker behind Devin White of LSU. At the combined, Bush ran a very fast 4.43 40. He bench pressed the required 225 weight 21 times, impressive for smaller linebacker. His broad jump was 124” and so you can equate that to him being an “athlete.”
The Steelers have always loved the more athletic players and not ones who stand out with glaring statistics. What Bush brings to the table is speed, and sideline-to-sideline coverage so with T.J. Watt, Vince Williams, and Bud Dupree on either side of him, unless Jon Bostic can hold off the challenge from the newest rookie, expect Bush to jump in and be a starter on day one and now Pittsburgh’s linebacking corps has become MUCH faster.
Some thoughts from the pro web sites about the drafting of Bush:
At the combine, Bush blazed a fast 40 time and helped to solidify his standing as a first-round pick. Bush has a shot at being a top-20 selection and shouldn't make it to pick No. 30. Bush is an undersized linebacker, but he is a fast defender with sideline-to-sideline speed. Bush shows the ability to be a three-down starter with the ability to drop into pass coverage and help defend receiving threats in the intermediate part of the field. Bush totaled 78 tackles with five sacks, nine tackles for a loss, six passes broken up and five sacks in 2018. If Bush were taller and had more length, he would be rated higher as he has been an impressive defender for the Wolverines. In 2017, Bush totaled 101 tackles with five sacks, eight passes broken up and an interception. He has speed, instincts, and some athleticism.
The Steelers almost never trade up, but in this case, trading up for Bush was an easy decision. The team has had a massive hole at linebacker since Ryan Shazier’s tragic injury, which is extra damaging considering their scheme puts a premium on speed in the middle of the field. With Terrell Edmunds joining as a first-round pick last year, the Steelers can be either a nickel or dime defense, giving them flexibility to adjust to opponents week in and week out. They haven’t had such flexibility since Shazier was last on the field. Great. So why not a higher grade? Do you think they gave up too much or something? Are you not as high on Bush as many others are? Or what?
Mel Kiper (Kiper simply referred to the Steelers as “a winner” after the trade)
My pal Louis Riddick called Bush pound-for-pound the best player in this draft. Though I won’t quite go that far, I love this fit, and I love Pittsburgh being aggressive in getting its guy, trading the Nos. 20 and 52 picks plus a third-round pick in next year’s draft to get the sideline-to-sideline linebacker. Bush is going to slot in at the weakest spot on the Steelers’ roster, as the team hasn’t been able to replace the production of Ryan Shazier.
Dane Brugler (The Athletic)
Since the tragic injury to Ryan Shazier, they haven’t had someone fill that void and Bush can do that. This is reminiscent of 2003 when the Steelers moved up 11 spots for Troy Polamalu. I’m gonna go ahead and say that‘s an “A” then.
Luke Easterling (DraftWire-USA Today)
Bush checks off all of the boxes for a linebacker in today’s NFL. He is a superb athlete with great instincts and plays with his hair on fire. His ability to drop into coverage and also come downhill in run defense is unmatched in this class. He is a high level linebacker prospect who can immediately step in and contribute day one in the NFL. This is an excellent selection. For the Steelers, taking the chance on Bush could turn out to be quite beneficial. Trading up for a player is always risky but Bush is well worth the investment. He is a tenacious player who should provide a big boost to the defense.”
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com)
I think it’s a perfect fit. There are two big-time linebackers and I don’t think there’s a lot of difference between him and Devin White. He has great leadership and great explosion. He’s fast and able to cover well and can also read well and be a good, firm tackler. As a blitzer, offensive linemen will have trouble with his quickness.
A final word on Devin Bush...dude...please LOSE that draft outfit you had on! Shades of M.C. Hammer!