The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Devin Bush as a player is worth the draft capital the Steelers had to forfeit in order to acquire him.
Explanation: In the biggest draft-day trade the Steelers have perhaps ever made, the organization sent its second-round pick and their future third-bound pick in order to swap first-round picks with the Denver Broncos, moving up from 20th to 10th to draft Bush, whom they identified as a special player.
They might not have put up identical statistics during their college careers, but Devin Bush bears a lot of similarities to Ryan Shazier, and if he can be a similar player at the professional level, then the pick, and the move up to get to that pick, will be very much worth it. Especially if he is a more reliable tackler.
While the defense wasn’t flawless with Shazier, it was a dynamic group that was capable of making game-changing plays. The Steelers were able to got 13-3 with Shazier for most of the 2017 season, and he certainly had a lot to do with that.
That doesn’t mean Bush is going to be or is supposed to be Shazier 2.0, but the fact that he has a complete game from blitzing to coverage to supporting the run, not to mention the ability to command a defense on and off the field, is just the sort of stability in the middle the team needed.
Even if Bush comes close to reaching his potential, he is still only one player on a defense that has some holes in it, and some question marks for the near future. Will Joe Haden, Sean Davis, or Bud Dupree be here by 2020? If not, who will fill in for them?
They could have used that second round pick this year and third-rounder next year to try to mitigate predictable future hits to a unit that has been holding back the offense for several years now. Bush is not going to single-handedly reform this group, and aside from the fact that there is some depth at the position in this draft, they already had a capable bridge option in Mark Barron.