The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a hurry to get Devin Bush on the field as soon as possible. I don’t care what they said before the draft about wanting to take rookies along more slowly. That was before they knew they would be able to get Bush.
The 10th-overall pick has been rotating in with the first-team defense since his first practice, and has seemingly been taking an increasingly predominant share of the snaps lately. That includes opportunities when Mark Barron is getting rest.
One of the reasons that they are able to do this—and one of the reasons that they coveted him so much—is because he has given every indication that he is a fast learner. That was true both in the pre-draft scouting process as well as since he’s been on the field for the Steelers.
Bush was on SiriusXM after yesterday’s practice talking about his development and where he’s going next in his progression. He was asked about how the instinctiveness of football kicks in when he’s struggling to visualize a play in his head.
“In OTAs I was kind of like that”, he admitted. “Rookie mini, minicamp—minicamp is kind of where it got easier, and then coming out here, it’s gotten easier and easier and easier. So, I’m learning more about how I could cheat my way into making plays. That’s where my next step is, and being able to recognize formations and offensive tendencies and stuff like that”.
While Bush isn’t making every play and winning every rep in training camp—Benny Snell, Jr. in particular has been making some plays against him in both versions of the backs on backers drill—he has done more than enough to impress the coaching staff and his teammates, and for them to be encouraged about his continued progression.
It’s worth keeping in mind that he hasn’t even gotten inside of a stadium yet, for those who might expecting him to be Bobby Wagner from the drop of the hat. He’s going to play, but he’s also going to make mistakes, and he’s going to learn from them.
One thing that he talked about adjusting to is figuring out how the offensive linemen are going to play him, which includes getting away with some holds. “It just teaches me a lot, just with what they want to do”, he said of countering linemen’s techniques and tricks.
“I know I gotta use my quickness and more of my hands and not get all the way into those guys and be able to disengage faster”, he said.
It’s better to learn the lesson now than in a game that counts. Better to figure it out against Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey than against the New England Patriots or the Seattle Seahawks. The more he learns, the more he experiences over the course of the next month, them ore prepared he’ll be to play, and to play at full speed without overthinking, come September.