Over the course of the past week, Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert have talked about how it was a long process spanning a couple of years through which the team evaluated their ultimate first-round selection, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. That surely even included speaking to his father, Devin Bush, Sr., while he visited the Steelers’ training camp last season.
While the evaluation itself took a long time, both of them said that it was an easy one to make, and surely the combination of the length of time and the clarity of the scouting process led to their decision that he was a player worth trading up to get.
Apparently, the decision to be open to making that trade was long in the making too, with Colbert telling Mike Florio last week, “it also became evident to us, when you saw the rest of the draft shaping up, that there was no way he’d make it down to the 20th pick. So we decided throughout the spring that trading up was probably going to be something we had to do”.
I wouldn’t say that it was immediately clear that Bush would not reach the 20th spot in the draft, at least outside of NFL circles, but that did appear to be the consensus that formed as we moved closer to the draft. Some still had him mocked to the Steelers at 20, but the Cincinnati Bengals at 11 was a popular destination as well.
As it turned out, he wouldn’t make it out of the top 10. The Steelers made sure of that, but it was also reported that the Denver Broncos, with whom they traded, were prepared to take Bush had they not agreed to do the trade with Pittsburgh.
As Colbert has previously said, the Steelers spend time throughout the process talking to other teams, something that he said in response to a report that they were looking to trade even higher than the 10th-overall pick. Surely the day of the draft was not the first time they spoke to Denver about a possible trade scenario.
“That process starts usually around the owners meetings when you have conversations with other teams and you start to get an idea of what it may cost to move up and teams interested”, he said, “and you keep talking about it until you get on the clock. Fortunately for us we were able to do a deal with Denver and we hope that it works out with everybody”.
The Steelers will be getting Bush on the field soon for the first time for rookie minicamp, which will be their first taste of what is to come. They are obviously tied to him and invested in giving him every opportunity to make a major impact on the organization, a reality they spent months getting comfortable with, and used three total draft picks to ensure.