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Steelers trade up, draft Devin Bush 10th overall

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The Steelers entered the 2019 NFL draft with the twentieth pick and some glaring needs on both sides of the ball. They hoped to start addressing those needs on Thursday night’s first round by making a splash and traded up with Denver to the tenth pick to get one of their top choices, 5-11, 234 lb. linebacker Devin Bush from Michigan.

General Manager Kevin Colbert visited with Bush during Michigan’s pro day and during the NFL combine. 

Colbert reinforced that the ability to trade up and give up a second round pick was based on their attainment of an early third round pick from Oakland in the Antonio Brown trade.

“Obviously, when you make a trade up to the top ten, it’s very exciting. Fortunately, we found a trade partner in Denver,” Colbert said. “This is a quality young man who is an excellent football player. Devin was very high up on our board. He got within our reach and we made the necessary move to get him.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin is looking forward to adding Bush to the team and feels he is a solid football player on and off the field.

“He’s an all-situation linebacker, versus the run and the pass. He’s a football guy and his leadership skills are unquestioned,” Tomlin said. “We’re equally fired up about his intangibles. His leadership skills are unquestioned.”

Bush was impressed with the Steelers trading up to pick him, but he was not surprised. Bush feels he is a good fit for the Steelers’ defense.

“[The Steelers] liked me enough as a person and a player to trade up and snag me,” Bush said. “I can play sideline-to-sideline. I can cover. I can blitz. At the end of the day, I’m a football player.”

Bush feels he is ready for the challenge after getting the call from Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers were at Bush’s pro day at Michigan and spoke to him at length before the draft.

“Coach Tomlin said, ‘You ready to be a Steeler’ and I said ‘hell yeah, I’m ready.’ It was a great moment,” Bush said. “I can’t wait to put on the Black and Gold.”

By moving up to tenth, the Steelers jumped ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals, who had the eleventh pick and may have grabbed Bush ahead of Pittsburgh’s original slot at number twenty. Steeler Hall of Famer Joe Greene announced the pick.

The Steelers do not make a habit of trading up in the first round, so they must have felt a real need to get Bush. They swapped one’s with the Broncos and also gave up their second round pick this year, and third rounder next year. 

Bush was a three-year letterman at Michigan. He recorded 194 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks one interception, and 17 passes defended in his college career. He earned all-American honors in 2018 and was the Big Ten defensive player of the year.

The last time the Steelers traded up to grab a defensive player, they moved up in 2003 to number 16 and snagged cornerback Troy Polamalu, a projected future NFL Hall of Famer.

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