The Pittsburgh Steelers’ scouting of former Michigan linebacker Devin Bush was something of an enigma. Though it was a very long process that spanned years, it was never difficult for them to see the type of player, and the type of talent that he possesses. He just continued to build his resume over his years to the point that he raised himself to a top-10 talent that was not only at that level, but worth trading up to get.
“We’ve coveted Devin Bush and his talents for some time, but I imagine we weren’t alone”, Head Coach Mike Tomlin told Daniel Jeremiah and crew back during the draft. General Manager Kevin Colbert made a similar description of the process earlier in the week, noting that they have been watching him for years—and especially this past season.
“We had four different people get a look at him throughout the fall”, he noted. “Of course we added our coaches into the evaluation when our season ended. It was just evident to us that he was an excellent football player”. But there was a common theme throughout that process.
“That’s an easy evaluation”, he said. “He’s an all-situations linebacker, a guy that’s good versus, the run, versus the pass and the blitz game. You really can’t find a situation that he can’t impose his will and impact the game in a positive way for his team”.
Similarly, Colbert said that “throughout the fall when we were scouting Devin, you could tell that he was a special player”. He added that it also became quickly evident based on his talent level that he was not going to be in their ballpark with the 20th-overall selection in the first round.
I suppose that is probably what it takes to get the Steelers to step outside their box and make such a dramatic move. They didn’t simply identify him as a special talent, they saw that special talent evolve and mature over a trackable period of time.
Now, it goes without saying that the payoff has to come on the field, or else it’s all been meaningless. And quite frankly I’m sure the team has claimed to have had an ‘easy evaluation’ on a bust before. I don’t recall distinctly but they probably said something similar about Jarvis Jones, in case you want to be scared.
But one thing is clearly different about the two, and that is that Bush tested off the charts in comparison, while Jones’ lack of athleticism was readily on display in his tests. At least that part about the Steelers’ latest first-round pick is indisputable and undeniable and will help him transition to the pro game.
That part of the evaluation was certainly easy, and part of a complete and lasting scouting process, likely dissimilar to the length of time they spent scouting Jones.