Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: ILB Devin Bush
Stock Value: Up
Relatively speaking, things have quieted down considerably for rookie first-round draft pick Devin Bush since the bye week. The team has toned down his snap count a bit since then, giving more opportunities primarily to Mark Barron, but more significant has been the general absence of splash plays.
In the scope of the first six games of the season, Bush recorded two interceptions and recovered four fumbles. In the eight games since then, he has forced a fumble. So in terms of demonstrative game-changing plays, he hasn’t been nearly the presence he was early on.
But takeaways can involve a lot of luck and come and go. More notable is the fact that Bush’s play has been evening out over the course of time. You can tell that the game is gradually beginning to slow down for him, he is processing things better and more quickly, and he’s starting to make fewer mistakes.
He’s still making mistakes, mind you, even against Buffalo. One of his biggest issues is overrunning plays, flowing to the wrong hole, but often enough, he has had the speed to make up for most of the difference that would have resulted from the play had he played it properly.
On the season, Bush now has 92 tackles. He needs eight over the course of the final two games to reach 100, which would make him the first rookie in team history to reach that mark. He does only have six tackles over the course of the past two games, so that’s not necessarily a guarantee.
But the plays that he does make tend to count, and he had a couple of nice read against the Bills, resulting in two tackles for loss among his total of four, all of them solo ventures.
Who is Devin Bush going to be over the long-term? It’s tough to say still, but you know he’s going to be good. He may not have been a rookie Pro Bowler or Defensive Rookie of the Year, but expect a big, Ryan Shazier-like jump from him in his second season.