The Pittsburgh Steelers are a rare team that is very conservative when it comes to moving up in the draft, especially the higher the price gets. It’s rare that they trade before the third day, but yesterday, as with free agency, was the dawning of a new, if fleeting, era. They traded up from 20th overall to 10th to get their man, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush.
They didn’t just make that move because they liked his tape that much, however. Bush is the complete package for them, as Head Coach Mike Tomlin explained during his and General Manager Kevin Colbert’s post-selection press conference to discuss the player and the decision to move up and get him.
“We’re equally as fired up about his intangibles”, Tomlin said after running down a list of some of his on-field skills. “He comes from a football family. He’s a football guy. Everyone speaks very highly of him, not only as a player, but as a person”.
Bush is a second-generation football player whose father, Devin Bush, Sr., spent several years in the NFL in the secondary. He grew up around the game, and that has shown in his approach to football as a profession and within the confines of his team.
“His leadership skills are unquestioned”, Tomlin went on. “We’ve interviewed a lot of Michigan players through the draft process, and it was unanimous in terms of who their unquestioned leader was, and that was attractive to us as well. The position that he plays is like a defensive quarterback, and I think that’s something that comes very natural to him”.
That certainly sounds like something the Steelers can use. While they already believed to some degree that they have a pair of competent starting inside linebackers already in-house in Vince Williams and Mark Barron, the latter a veteran but new to the team via free agency, Bush’s ceiling, both tangibly and intangibly, goes above and beyond anybody outside of Ryan Shazier that they have had in some time. higher than Lawrence Timmons.
One of the big concerns defensively in recent years has been the communication, including the player-to-play communication on the field. If Bush can be the vocal, commanding leader of that group and get everybody on the same page, it would pay dividends to the quality of the unit as a whole even before the ball is snapped.
While his wardrobe choice might be suspect for somebody such as myself with a more conservative approach to fashion, Bush is yet another recent Steelers draft pick whom you can understand why he was brought in just by listening to an interview. He shouldn’t have any difficulty not just fitting into the locker room but in fairly quickly emerging as a respected member and eventual leader.