It certainly seems as though teams are increasingly willing to part with draft picks, even in the early rounds. We have seen multiple trades take place since the start of the regular season in which multiple first-round draft picks were dealt for non-quarterbacks. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers gave up a first-round pick as part of their acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick. The New England Patriots just sent a second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for Mohamed Sanu.
The Steelers also gave up second- and third-round picks back in April to move up in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft in order to acquire Devin Bush, the 10th-overall pick out of Michigan. While it was seen as a steep cost at the time, especially given their history of conservative approaches to trades, it has all worked out for the best so far.
Through the first six games of his NFL career, he has 52 tackles, the most among rookies, in addition to a sack, two interceptions, and four fumble recoveries. He is positioning himself well to make a good run at the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, though he will be competing with the likes of Nick Bosa and Brian Burns.
One award he has already gotten was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor for Week Six. He recorded seven tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown in the Steelers’ victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“It’s just more motivating”, he told Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the honor. And one can’t help but feel that this isn’t the last time he will receive similar motivation. Perhaps the first of many over the course of the 21-year-old’s career.
“As a team, we can be a lot better”, he said of the current state of the Steelers. “When you’ve got plays like that and you’ve got playmakers around you – we’ve got a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball – when guys are making plays and having fun, it’s hard to beat them”.
So far, while they haven’t gotten very far—they’re just 2-4 on the season—it has largely been the defense carrying the offense, an effort that includes 15 takeaways in six games. They still have work to do in situational football, particularly on third down and in the red zone, but the unit appears to be well on its way to bigger and better things.
And Bush, they figure, will be one of the young players to take him there. Along with the likes of T.J. Watt and now Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers do have a lot of young and talented players who are rising up. Now it’s a matter of putting it all together.