Devin Bush is the focal point of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ inside linebacker room, whether or not he is the ‘heart and soul’, so to speak. He is the guy around whom the rest is built, the guy who is designed to make the plays. They spent most of last season without him after he tore up his knee, so they’re understandably excited to get him back.
“Adding a guy like Devin back onto any team is a major attribute. He’s one of the top inside linebackers in the league”, Robert Spillane told reporters on Thursday. “He can rush the passer, play the run downs, and also cover people. He’s an all-around player, a guy that you love to have on your team, and he would make any team better. Getting him back is such an improvement to our already-dominant 2020 defense”.
Bush logged every snap of the 2020 season up until his injury shortly before halftime of the fifth game. He had already accumulated 26 tackles and a sack with three passes defensed, though he had yet to register a takeaway, of which he had six during his rookie season.
As he comes back, he must also adjust to a 17-game schedule, as must everybody else. Bush told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn’t care about the extra game, and that he has every intention of playing every single snap.
“We’re just both very excited to get on the field together”, Spillane added. “I know he’s gnawing at the bit to get back out there. He’s been working his tail off all offseason, since the second he got injured, to come back and be the best linebacker he’ll be”.
The 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Steelers traded up from the 20th spot to get him, giving up a second and a third round pick, in addition to swapping firsts with the Denver Broncos in order to draft him. Reportedly, the Broncos were going to draft him if Pittsburgh didn’t phone the go-ahead to execute the trade. They even had Bush’s name written down on the card to turn in.
He went on to register 109 tackles as a rookie (not sacks), the most by any Steeler in their rookie season in franchise history, along with a sack, two interceptions, four passes defensed, one forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries, for one of which he scooped and scored.
The Steelers took the training wheels off in year two, having him on the field for every defensive snap and giving him the green dot, in other words the signal-calling responsibilities. They wanted him to do it as a rookie, but they ultimately decided not to burden him.
Bush has all the talent in the world, and is certainly capable of being one of the top linebackers in the league. Both he, and all of his teammates, are anxious to see him get a crack at proving it later this year once he gets back on the field.