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NFL Draft

Steelers Sign First-Round Pick Devin Bush

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The Steelers signed first-round draft pick Devin Bush on Sunday at the close of the team’s three-day rookie minicamp.

Bush, who the Steelers traded up to the No. 10 spot in the draft to select, signed a four-year contract worth a fully guaranteed $18.9 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Steelers will hold a fifth-year option for Bush, which the team must choose to exercise after his third season.

The former Michigan linebacker was rated as the consensus No. 2 inside linebacker in the class coming into the 2019 NFL Draft. After LSU’s Devin White went to Tampa Bay with the No. 5 pick, the Steelers pulled the trigger on a trade with Denver that sent the No. 20 overall pick in the first round along with the Steelers’ second-round pick and 2020 third-round pick to the Broncos.

At Michigan, Bush played 39 games and made 194 tackles, 20 for a loss, 10 sacks, defended 17 passes and had one interception.

Bush and the rest of the team’s rookies just finished participating in the Steelers three-day rookie minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, and said on Friday that he’s fit right in to his new team.

“I’m a part of the Steelers organization,” Bush said. “I’m a Steeler. I’m very grateful to be in this position right now.”

The Steelers have now signed eight of their nine picks from last month’s draft, with just third-round cornerback Justin Layne from Michigan State yet to sign.

2021 NFL Draft

NFL Cancels In-Person 2021 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis; Pro Days On

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After weeks of rumors and speculation, the NFL has made it official, announcing in a memo to clubs Monday they are significant alterations to the 2021 Scouting Combine.

Annually held in Indianapolis, the league is scrapping in-person workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium, instead opting for pro days on college campuses. The NFL will coordinate with schools to ensure “consistency in testing and drills,” providing video of said workouts to all clubs.

Interviews and psychological testing of prospects normally executed at the physical combine will instead be conducted in an entirely virtual format.

As for medical evaluations, limited in-person exams will most likely be conducted over a three-day span in early April. While some evaluations will also be held virtually, an undetermined number of prospects will be invited to designated satellite locations for in-person exams. Each franchise will be permitted to dispatch a physician and athletic trainer to conduct the in-person portion.

Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft in April, the league will work directly with clubs, schools and affiliated broadcast partners to ensure media availability with Combine invitees. The NFL intends to keep with tradition and make head coaches and general managers available to the media as well.

The altered Combine format was devised and overseen by a special committee of league and club officials, including NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert.

Further details regarding protocols and finalized dates will be released as the committee continues to meet and plan over the coming weeks.

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NFL

Report: NFL to Make Significant Changes to Combine Due to COVID-19

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Major changes to the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine are expected amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, plans of hosting the combine as traditionally constructed are “dead” following a conference call between league officials Friday. It is becoming increasingly likely that the medical and performance-based portions of the event will be held separately.

A number of alternatives are being considered, including regionalized medical checks, standardized pro days and interviews conducting via Zoom.

With regards to the regional medicals, the NFL could set up shop and administer the examinations at hospital in states where a large number of players are conducting their workouts and preparation, such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

The intent would be to limit travel for players, where as the team physicians conducting the examinations would likely have already received their vaccinations.

Other aspects of the medical process can be accomplished virtually, such as reviewing injury histories.

As for the pro days, NFL or individual team personnel would put players through drills at their respective schools, but standardize each workout to ensure prospects are going through the same exercises as they would in Indianapolis. Measurements and result would then be distributed league-wide as they normally would be.

League officials will continue to meet over the coming days, according to Breer, but a finalized plan is expected later this coming week.

The NFL has also weighed the option of postponing the combine until April, but still holding it in Indianapolis. While it is on the table, the move would likely requirement the 2021 NFL Draft to be postponed as well.

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NFL Draft

Steelers Clinch No. 24 Pick in 2021 NFL Draft

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Following their opening round playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers now know where they will be selecting in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh now owns the No. 24-overall selection in April’s draft.

A number of needs and questions plague the Steelers as they enter the offseason and turn their attention toward the draft process, with multiple directions they can go with their first round pick. Offensive line, running back and cornerback all appear viable options for the Steelers at No. 24.

The Steelers have not had a first round selection since trading up to draft inside linebacker Devin Bush with the tenth-overall pick in 2018. Pittsburgh did not have a first rounder in last year’s draft, sending it to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 to acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The draft is scheduled to be held from April 29 to May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio, though it’s unclear if that will come to pass or if the draft will once again be held virtually, as the 2020 NFL Draft was.

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