Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II joked that the team’s interest in Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and the possibility of going up to get him was the ‘worst-kept secret’ of the draft. It’s a fit that made a ton of sense on paper, and now it’s an actuality, so a lot of people, both inside and outside of the fan base and the organization, are interested in seeing how that plays out.
You can include former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi in that group. Bruschi, while showing some homerism as about any former player-turned-analyst does (yes, including former Steelers players), has been overall one of the better of his breed in making a second career in the game from the commentating side.
He recently called out the Bush pick for the Steelers as the fit that he is most looking forward to seeing this year after Pittsburgh gave up second- and third-round draft picks to trade up from 20th-overall this year to the 10th spot to get him.
“I can’t wait to watch Devin Bush, the linebacker out of Michigan, in the Pittsburgh Steeler defense”, he said. “Those guys know how to use off-the-ball linebackers, rushing the passer, in space. They utilize them on a three-down basis and he has the ability to do that. You leave him on the field, it’s a huge asset for your team. He’s not a first- and second-down player, he’s not just a third-down sub linebacker, he can do it all. Great fit for the Steelers”.
And Bush seems to be off to a good start. He was calling the team’s defense, vocally and with confidence, from the first day of rookie minicamp even though he had just gotten the playbook. He told reporters that he was already familiar with a lot of the concepts that he was seeing, but that he would have to adjust to the language the team is using to identify those concepts.
The only real question is whether or not he is going to start immediately as a rookie or if the coaching staff will give him time to come along. They signed veteran Mark Barron in free agency on a two-year deal worth $12 million. They obviously have plans for Barron to play, whether that is as the starting Mack linebacker or otherwise.
It would be a shock, though, if we don’t see Bush on the field for at least a decent amount of time during his rookie season, especially given the recent trend of their first-round picks starting almost immediately, and every first-round pick going back to 2012 has played significantly during their rookie season when healthy.