So apparently yesterday was an interesting day to learn some new details about some of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ recent draft experiences. Earlier today, I wrote about how James Conner was told (of course jokingly) by the Steelers not to pick up the phone on draft day unless it was from a 412 area code.
Courtesy of 9News in Denver, we also learned a bit more about how close the Steelers were to entering this season without Devin Bush. We already knew that the Denver Broncos were reportedly going to draft Bush if they had not made the trade with the Steelers to jump back from 10 to 20 in the first round.
Mike Klis writes that they even already had the card written out with Bush’s name on it to call it in before director of player personnel Matt Russell told their team representative, Derrick Thomas, to wait on calling it in for a minute.
Of course, Russell knew what he was doing. He and Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert had already previously spoken about a potential trade scenario, and we even saw draft-day video of the phone conversation that they had when the Broncos were on the clock, during which they spoke in knowing terms about a pre-arranged deal: the 20th-overall pick, their second-rounder, and a third-round pick in 2020.
Done deal. Bush in the ‘Burgh.
The Broncos have some good linebackers on their team. What they don’t have is a superior athlete, because there just aren’t that many of them out there. So while they have Todd Davis and Josey Jewell—they just lost Brandon Marshall in free agency—they were very interested in Bush, but were able to be lured away by Pittsburgh’s rare offering of draft capital.
Truth be told, I’m not overly concerned about how it all worked out on the Broncos’ end. I’m not necessarily going to hope that they get good value from their trade haul. But I’m most certainly going to do so for the Steelers and their acquisition of Bush, who has an excellent chance of being the team’s third wall-to-wall rookie starter on defense in as many seasons, after T.J. Watt in 2017 and Terrell Edmunds last year.
All three of them, first-round picks, all three from football families, with either siblings or a parent or both with prior high-level experience. Watt’s brother is a multiple-time defensive player of the year. Emunds’ dad? A Pro Bowl tight end. Bush’s father? A first-round safety and Super Bowl champion.
There is every reason to believe that Bush can be even better than his father. He has the talent to be one of the best linebackers in the entire league, without a doubt. That’s why the Steelers felt it was worth it. Hopefully the Broncos regret waiting for that phone call before turning the card in, as the Steelers almost always do immediately once on the clock.