There’s nothing a coach likes more than getting a shiny new first round pick. And Keith Butler got himself one of the shiniest ones the Pittsburgh Steelers have had in quite some time. Sitting down with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews, Butler discussed the decision to make the aggressive move for Devin Bush and the impact it’ll have on the defense. He did so by comparing it to another draft day move the team made more than a decade ago.
“The last time we jumped up for a player like this in the draft, we rarely do this, I think it was Troy Polamalu,” Butler told Matthews. “When we do that, after we had drafted Troy, not the first year, but his years after that he really got good. He gave us a chance to be in three Super Bowls and we won two of them.”
Butler then joked – I think – that he reminded GM Kevin Colbert of that fact.
“I had to tell Kevin that. He already knew that.”
Polamalu was the first and until April, the only defensive player the team has traded up for. Of course, they did do the same for Santonio Holmes years later, a move that paid off with similar Super Bowl success. In 2003, Colbert moved the Steelers from 27 to 16 in order to snag Troy, giving up 3rd and 6th round picks in the process. Undoubtedly, the right move, though the Chiefs got a good player of their own, taking RB Larry Johnson with their new first rounder. He was no Troy but put together a pair of 1700 yard seasons.
Under Colbert’s tenure, the team has made only one other first round move, moving back three spots and taking Casey Hampton in 2001. That too turned out to be the right decision.
Moving up for Bush was the right move even if it cost the team more to get him, sending a 2nd and next year’s 3rd to seal the deal with Denver. Butler agreed with the front office’s plan.
“We really needed him. He fills a big hole for us. Hopefully we can prepare him the way we need he needs to be prepared to help us this season.”
Bush is already working on calling the defense, a must for any linebacker who wants to play all three downs. He figures to see a role at inside linebacker right away, perhaps a prominent one, but that won’t be known until late into the summer. The Steelers do have options, signing Mark Barron and keeping the ever-steady Vince Williams, giving them flexibility they simply didn’t have last year.