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ESPN’s Mel Kiper predicts Steelers will draft inside linebacker in 1st round | TribLIVE.com
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ESPN’s Mel Kiper predicts Steelers will draft inside linebacker in 1st round

Tim Benz
| Friday, January 18, 2019 8:56 a.m

The worst thing about the NFL season ending way too early is that NFL Draft season starts way too early.

But Steelers fans will likely enjoy this speculation to kick off the campaign. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Steelers drafting an inside linebacker in the first round.

That’s a position of need, and the Steelers didn’t adequately address it last year when they couldn’t move up in the draft to get one. They just had to settle for signing Jon Bostic in free agency.

But in case you are curious, the ILB Kiper tabbed for the Steelers is Michigan’s Devin Bush.

“The weakness on defense was at inside linebacker, as they struggled to replace Ryan Shazier,” Kiper says. “The phrase I keep repeating about Bush is ‘perfect for today’s NFL.’ He would be a great fit as a three-down linebacker who never has to leave the field. At 5-foot-11, Bush is undersized, but he should test well at the combine.”

Devin White of LSU is largely considered the best at the position in the draft. Bush is rated third by WalterFootball.com. Of course, any of the names on this list could jump around going into the combine and individual workouts.

The fit seems to make sense, if you aren’t concerned about Bush’s size. Which the Steelers may be. Even if they are, the need to replace Ryan Shazier is massive.

Keep in mind, inside linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans were drafted 19th and 22nd last year. The Steelers tried to trade up to get at least one of them during the first round.

They draft 20th this year.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@tribweb.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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