Tim Benz: These teams could steal Devin White, Devin Bush from Steelers at NFL Draft | TribLIVE.com
Tim Benz, Columnist

Tim Benz: These teams could steal Devin White, Devin Bush from Steelers at NFL Draft

Tim Benz
AP photos
LSU’s Devin White (left) and Michgan’s Devin Bush are widely regarded as the top inside linebackers in the 2019 NFL Draft.

So, who is going to mess this up for the Steelers?

During last year’s NFL Draft, it was Chicago, Tennessee and Dallas. They were the teams that nabbed the three first-round, pure inside linebackers that would have perfectly meshed within the defensive system in Pittsburgh.

And perhaps would have helped fill the void left by Ryan Shazier’s injury.

Roquan Smith went to the Bears in the No. 8 slot. Leighton Vander Esch went to the Cowboys at 19. And the Titans traded in front of the Steelers at 22 to steal Rashaan Evans, who many think would’ve been the selection here.

This year, the Steelers top need remains consistent. They are still looking for a sideline-to-sideline, three-down inside linebacker. The problem is, a lot of other teams are looking for precisely the same thing.

Two players at that position have been deemed by most draft analysts to be head-and-shoulders above the rest: LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush.

Most mock drafts I’ve come across have both players gone within the top 12 picks. Few have either player escaping the top 15.

The Steelers pick at No. 20. So you see the dilemma if they fail to trade up, as was the case last year.

Here are the teams that could play the most significant role in messing up the Steelers’ hopes of landing either of “the Devins.”

No. 4. Oakland: As if we haven’t heard enough about the Raiders already this offseason, right? I’ve seen White projected as high as the fourth slot to the Silver and Black. But most outlooks seem to indicate Oakland is leaning toward defensive line help, specifically Alabama’s Quinnen Williams.

That makes more sense seeing as how Oakland picked up both Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict at linebacker last month.

No. 5. Tampa Bay: This appears to be the sweet spot for White. Many outlets seem to think the Buccaneers will be desperate to replace the loss of another LSU inside linebacker in free agency — Kwon Alexander (San Francisco) — with another in White.

The team’s own website even posted an NFL Network prediction of the team picking White.

However, DraftWire.com’s Luke Easterling, a scout who is a Tampa guy and has covered the team in the past, told us some of the hype might be misguided .

Steelers fans better hope he is right. Even if White drops a few spots, that could push Bush into a tradable range.

No. 6. New York Giants: It’s believed the Giants have the hots for Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. But they may try to wait on him until their other first-round selection at No. 17. Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Houston’s alleged Aaron Donald clone Ed Oliver have been rumored targets for Big Blue, too.

If not, I’ve read that White may be Big Apple bound.

No. 10. Denver: Assuming White is gone by this point, this may be a logical destination for Bush since the Broncos lost Marshall in free agency to the Raiders.

No. 11. Cincinnati: The Bengals enjoyed swiping cornerback William Jackson III before the Steelers could get him three years ago. With the loss of Burfict, they’d love to do the same with Bush this year.

If — somehow — none of those teams take White or Bush, the Steelers may be able to swing a trade with Green Bay at No. 12 since the Packers are reportedly thinking offense and

… oh. Never mind.

So, who are the good cornerbacks or pass-rushers who may be available?

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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