Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: ILB Devin Bush
Stock Value: Up
Obviously it’s very early to be talking about any rookies, still participating in their initiation minicamp, but given the expectations that are already set for first-round pick Devin Bush, I think it’s fair to include him in this list already.
It isn’t any kind of surprise that the 10th-overall pick was asked to be one of the players who would call out the defense, but the fact that he did it well, and he did it vocally, is worth commenting on. When a young player is just getting his feet under him, it can be difficult to be confident and vocal because even he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet.
That hasn’t been a problem so far for Bush, who told reporters that he felt comfortable so far during rookie minicamp, and was already familiar with a lot of the defensive concepts he has seen in the playbook—just in a different defensive language. So that is his biggest hurdle right now, translating his knowledge into a new vocabulary.
While the Steelers don’t absolutely need to have Bush on the field as soon as possible, because they were able to insulate themselves at the inside linebacker position with the signing of Mark Barron in free agency, they obviously would like to see him contributing sooner rather than later.
And he doesn’t necessarily have to be the one with the green dot to be able to contribute. But that will be his ultimate role as a three-down player and the mouthpiece of the defensive unit whenever he is fully up and running.
In that respect, he is off to a good start. One of the most important qualities of being a communicator is simply communicating clearly and with command. Bush can do that already. The rest of his game can come together over the course of the offseason, both in his own play and in his ability to be the signal-caller.