The drafting of Devin Bush has so far resulted in eighth-year veteran Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Vince Williams spending some time in practice during the spring watching the first-team defense run without him in the lineup. Because through May and June, they have been using a three-man rotation between himself, Bush, and veteran free agent addition Mark Barron.
He also understands that it’s entirely possible that Steelers start the season with Bush and Barron as their two primary inside linebackers. Even though he has previously experienced the loss of a starting job due to the drafting of a player at his position in the first round—Ryan Shazier in 2014—he’s much less worried about his role than about his team.
“It’s not going to do anybody any good being selfish”, he said during the spring, per Mike Prisuta recently via the team’s own website. “It’s about everybody. “Every man that puts his hand in the pile is going to contribute”.
And he understands quite well that Bush not only has his hand in the pile, but fully deserves to be where he is, at least based on what he has shown through his first couple of months as a professional athlete, living up to his pedigree as the 10th-overall pick in the draft.
“We’re gonna need him, man”, Prisuta quoted him as saying about Bush. “You don’t draft a guy in the top 10 unless you’re ready to put him in there, plug him in and let him make plays. I’m just happy he’s available to do that”.
While there is no final depth chart or rotation jotted down in pen just yet, all the signs seem to be pointing toward the idea of Bush playing, and playing a lot, pretty much from the get-to. Provided that he continues to advance upon his current trajectory, there is no reason to believe that he will not be a full-time starter as T.J. Watt and Terell Edmunds have been for the past two seasons.
I think the team understands that the most important puzzle piece in their future is getting Bush where he’s supposed to be. Everything else that happens around him at the position is secondary, as cold as that might sound to Barron and Williams. The reality is that, from a talent level, either of them should theoretically be playing second fiddle to Bush, working around him and facilitating his ability to make plays.
The Steelers are already seeing glimpses of his playmaking potential, which has had so many of his teammates talking about him, affirming that he indeed looks like the player you would think he is based on where he was drafted. That has to be exciting, insofar as anything that happens before Latrobe is noteworthy on the practice field.