The knock on Devin Bush, if there was one, is that he was viewed as undersized at inside linebacker. That was before the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder from Michigan was timed at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
The same once was said of Ryan Shazier, who also made up for his size with superlative speed to become a Pro Bowl-caliber player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers have been searching for Shazier’s replacement since his spinal-cord injury in December 2017, and team president Art Rooney II called the team’s interest in trading up for Bush the “worst-kept secret” in the NFL Draft.
Bush made no secret Friday afternoon of his “super loyalty” to the Steelers for trading up 10 spots to select him with the No. 10 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The emphasis should be on Super.
My first impressions of the Steelers’ top pick, who will wear No. 55, the same jersey number worn by Steelers inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky and former Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter:
1. No pressure: Bush was aware that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert only traded up twice in the first round, picks that resulted in a future Hall of Famer in safety Troy Polamalu and a Super Bowl MVP in receiver Santonio Holmes.
Bush was asked if that history adds any pressure.
“Not really,” Bush said. “I want to be both of those, so I’m going to try my hardest to be both of those.”
2. Respect for Ryan: Bush also handled questions about replacing Shazier with aplomb, calling him a “great linebacker” who he knows will “make a comeback.”
“It’s just a respect level,” Bush said. “I’m not trying to be Ryan Shazier.”
3. Perfect fit: Bush said Shazier was one of several Steelers linebackers to send congratulatory and welcome texts, also mentioning starters Vince Williams and T.J. Watt.
Bush believes he’s custom-made for the Steelers —“everybody here wants to win,” he said — and their defense because of its “very aggressive” style of play.
“They don’t take anything from no one,” Bush said. “It doesn’t matter what the score of the game is, what the outcome of the game is, we’ll come to get you.”
Sounds similar to the Steelers’ strategy to get Bush.