Judging by how they spent their picks on defensive players during the draft last month, it would be reasonable to assume the Pittsburgh Steelers have put a premium on adding speed to their defense.
Coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t go that far, at least not explicitly.
“A factor, not the determining factor,” Tomlin said at the end of the second day of rookie mini-camp at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Saturday. “Speed’s always going to be an element to this thing, relative to positions.”
Devin Bush, who the Steelers traded up for in the first-round, ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash time of any linebacker at the combine (4.43 seconds). Sixth-round linebacker Ulysses Gilbert reportedly ran in the 4.5 range at his Pro Day for the University of Akron. Third-rounder Justin Layne also was in the top half of cornerback 40 runners at the combine.
Since Ryan Shazier’s injury in December 2017, the Steelers dropped dramatically in regards to their relative speed compared to other NFL teams.