Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: ILB Devin Bush
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While a general manager is not going to trash one of his players, let alone one he made a very rare trade up in the first round to get, Kevin Colbert did offer indications that the team still believes in Devin Bush.
It wouldn’t make much sense to say something like nobody would have expected three years ago that Devin Bush is now where he is, because the fact that he tore his ACL in 2020 has a lot to do with where he is now at this point in his career.
With that being said, he could be in a better place even with the injury than he has been, and he certainly could have put better snaps on tape during the 2021 season than he did. But the Steelers still think that better player is in him.
That doesn’t mean they’re going to pick up his fifth-year option, which Colbert indicated yesterday they haven’t yet made a decision on, even though it seems extremely unlikely that they would. But they do seem to think with some degree of sincerity that they can get significantly better and more consistent play out of him.
Well, it couldn’t have been a whole lot worse than what they got for most of last season. And he did seem to play with a little more energy in the latter portions of the season, as well. At this point, the Steelers don’t even need him to be the guy they drafted him to be. They just need him to be a competent starter.
“I know Devin can play better because he has played better”, Colbert told reporters yesterday, and we’ve all seen him play better. His rookie season was actually rather encouraging, for the most part. Because he injured his knee early on in his second season, we never really got to truly see who he would take that second-year jump.
Now he has another second-year jump opportunity—a second year removed from injury. The 2022 season is the opportunity for Bush to salvage his reputation, and perhaps even his career. At least publicly, he will have an organization behind him that will see to it that he gets the best chance possible to show that.