Former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker coach Joey Porter was a guest Friday evening on NFL Network’s ‘Total Access’ and he certainly had a lot to say about his most-recent employer. During one of the segments that Porter was in, he was asked to comment some on the Steelers first-round draft pick this year, inside linebacker Devin Bush out of Michigan.
“I think he brings instant splash,” said Porter of Bush. “He’s going to be a guy that can go out there, that can call a defense. It makes the Pittsburgh defense not to have to try and use so many people to try and create a Ryan Shazier.. That’s what they did a year ago. You know, we had like a lot of different packages, we were trying to make two and three people be Ryan and when you have Devin Bush, you can leave him on the field. You know he’s a smart guy, his dad is a football coach. He’s been in football his whole life. So, I think he comes right into the system, does his job, makes a lot of plays and brings that nasty back to the defense.”
To date, the early reports out the Steelers rookie minicamp and OTA practices on Bush have been favorable ones and you would expect them to be with him being selected 10th overall in this year’s draft after being traded up for. After seemingly picking up the overall defensive scheme and concepts well during rookie minicamp, Bush reportedly practiced some with the first-team defense during the first week of OTA practices that concluded in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Bush was even reportedly making some defensive calls this past week and was vocal in doing so. Porter was asked Friday night if he believes Bush can be a year-one leader of the defense, the heart of the unit, if you will.
“He’ll definitely be a part of it,” Porter said. “There’s a lot of guys, you have Cam Heyward, who is still a Pro Bowler, is still on that defense. T.J. Watt is coming into his own after making the Pro Bowl last year. But when you add a guy like Devin to that defense, I mean, he’s going to be surrounded by pieces and they’re going to look for him to go out there and make a lot of plays. And I think he can, I think he’s a hell of a football player.”
As you can easily see, Porter is sold on Bush and his abilities to potentially be a big first-year contributor in the Steelers defense. Even though Porter was jettisoned this past offseason, I’m sure he and several other members of the Steelers coaching staff had quite a few discussions about Bush during his final two seasons at Michigan. Additionally, Porter has probably had quite a few long talks with Bush’s father, Devin Bush Sr., in the past as well as he was a coaching intern with the Steelers during last year’s training camp.
Personally, I won’t be surprised if Bush sees considerable playing time on defense in the Steelers regular season opener against the New England Patriots. Heck, he might even wind up starting that game. As long as he stays healthy the remainder of the summer, he figures to take a similar path as a few other recent Steelers first-round draft picks, Ryan Shazier and T.J. Watt. Not only did Shazier start in Week 1 of his rookie 2014 season, he played 88% of all defensive snaps in that Steelers win over the Cleveland Browns. As for Watt, he started in Week 1 of his 2017 rookie season and played 94% of all defensive snaps in the Steelers win over the Browns.