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Steelers Almost Never Traded up for Devin Bush

The Pittsburgh Steelers almost never got Devin Bush with the New York Giants lurking in the background and ahead of them.



Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Devin Bush
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush during minicamp at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, June 9, 2022 -- ED THOMPSON

The Pittsburgh Steelers moved up the board in the 2019 NFL Draft to grab Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. A massive need at that point on a roster that they hoped would become a Super Bowl contender, the team went all-in on Bush as one of the top two inside linebackers in the class. By doing so, they moved multiple picks just to make it happen, but after a promising start to his career, the potential never came to fruition.

And apparently, the Steelers rarely made that move, either. The New York Giants, then under general manager Dave Gettleman, tried to move up the board to land one of Devin White or Bush as well. Veteran Giants reporter Art Stapleton said that Gettleman tried to move up, and because the Steelers outmaneuvered him and gave up more, they decided to stick at 17 and take Dexter Lawrence. The rest is history, as Lawrence has become an elite player.

Bush, 25, was the Steelers’ first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft when the team traded up with the Denver Broncos to select him out of Michigan with the No. 10 overall selection. He never lived up to the billing of that draft pick in four seasons in Pittsburgh. Bush started 15 games in a promising rookie season in 2019, but he never recovered his form after an ACL injury caused him to miss most of the 2020 season.

The Steelers put significant effort into getting Bush into a better place in 2022. The signing of free agent inside linebacker and NFL veteran Myles Jack was done at least in part to try to provide a leader for the position group. The Steelers also hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to work with their linebackers. But it never clicked and he went to the Seahawks this past offseason and will now hit free agency once again after playing for Pete Carroll.

Had the Giants executed the trade, things could have gone much differently for the Steelers in the 2019 NFL Draft. But the NFL is a game of ‘what ifs’, especially around offseason decisions.