Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush’s career in Pittsburgh didn’t pan out the way anyone hoped, especially after the team traded up in the 2019 NFL Draft to select him 10th overall. Four mostly forgettable seasons later, after Bush never seemed to fully recover from his torn ACL, he’s now a member of the Seattle Seahawks. But the sting from whiffing on Bush in the draft is still fresh, and in an article today, Sports Illustrated’s Gilberto Manzano named Bush one of the biggest draft busts of the last 10 years.
“He is another top-10 pick who has failed to make an impact as a starter. The Steelers declined his fifth-year option, and he’s now playing for the Seahawks,” Manzano wrote.
Bush didn’t set the world on fire his rookie, but he did show promise. The Michigan product finished third in AP Defensive Player of the Year voting after making 109 total tackles, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries for a Steelers defense that somehow carried a team mostly led by Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges into a fight for a playoff spot. In Week 5 of 2020, Bush tore his ACL, and from there he just was never the same player. He stopped embracing contact and would easily get swallowed up by blocks. While he showed improvement from 2022 after an abysmal 2021, it wasn’t enough. He was essentially benched at the end of the season.
For this exercise, Manzano named two to three players from the first round of each draft he reviews as busts. It’s a little bit dumb to break down the “biggest misses over the past ten years” into individual drafts because we don’t know if anyone in the 2022 draft is a bust yet. It’s too early for a lot of guys from 2021 as well. Manzano has former first-overall pick Travon Walker listed, as a bust for the 2022 draft, and while he acknowledges it’s too soon, the format just doesn’t make much sense. But there’s no questioning that Bush was a bust. He was listed along with EDGE Clelin Ferrell, whom the Raiders took fourth overall coming out of Clemson, in the 2019 draft.
The Bush miss is one that Steelers fans won’t soon forget. For a team that rarely trades up, the time they went and finally took a big swing, came back to blow up in their face. While Bush is off to Seattle, the Steelers are still looking to fill the hole at middle linebacker that has been there since Ryan Shazier’s tragic career-ending injury. Hopefully, Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb show more promise than the cadre of guys who have come before them, including Bush.