It is hopefully a good sign when the two people whose playing time is most at risk by another’s presence can’t say enough good things about the person who is putting their playing time in jeopardy. But that has been the response so far from veteran linebackers Vince Williams and Mark Barron about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round draft pick, Devin Bush.
Williams, who has been here since 2013, is entering his third season since taking over a starting position on a full-time basis since Lawrence Timmons departed in free agency. As for Barron, the veteran former first-round pick, he most recently was a starter for the Los Angeles Rams before signing with the Steelers in March. Both of them praised the man they will be asked to help bring along.
Williams was asked if he was impressed with Bush so far, but he said he was not. Not because Bush has not been impressive, but because, as he said, “if I was impressed that would say I’m surprised”. In other words, it’s expected that the rookie is impressive.
For his part, he said that he was excited when the Steelers drafted Bush, because “it adds more playmakers to the defense”. Williams also praised his love for the game and called him “top 10 athletically”.
As for Barron, who was brought in on a two-year, $12 million contract, he too was pleased (let’s not say impressed) by what he has seen from Bush, praising him as “a good young talent”.
“I knew that as soon as we picked him up”, he added. “I am excited to work with him. I always feel like great players bring out the best in each other. Just getting to work with each other and bring the best out of each other, I think that will be good for the team as a whole”.
When Barron was signed, he said during his introductory press conference that he expected to be a three-down linebacker in the Steelers’ defense. That was, of course, well before the Steelers knew that they would have the opportunity to bring Bush into the fold.
The three of those inside linebackers have been rotating with the starting defense during the first week of OTAs, what Barron called a “true rotation”, with Williams sometimes working with Barron, sometimes Bush, and sometimes Bush and Barron working together.
It seems that it’s all so far, so good with the new Michigan linebacker. He has impressed everyone in the organization, including those with whom he shares a meeting room. There’s really no question that he is going to be in the starting lineup soon enough. The only question really is, is he already there? Will he be by September?