The Steelers found a potential franchise player in

in Interviews & Stories 05.12.2019 04:40
von zhangzk • 178 Beiträge

Devin Bush Jerome Bettis Jersey , but they can never replace the man who preceded him"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Latest NewsSteelers Film Room2018 NFL Draft AnalysisLatest NewsLatest NewsFeatures and Long Form2019 NFL Draft AnalysisPost-Draft Stock Report: For the Steelers, Ryan Shazier cannot be replacedNew,37commentsThe Steelers found a potential franchise player in Devin Bush, but they can never replace the man who preceded himEDTShareTweetShareSharePost-Draft Stock Report: For the Steelers, Ryan Shazier cannot be replacedChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsLast Thursday evening, the Steelers vaporized my brainstem by packaging together a triad of draft picks and sending it westward to acquire Denver’s first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. They subsequently used this pick, the 10th overall selection, to draft Devin Bush, a dynamic and multi-talented inside linebacker from Michigan who a non-zero number of Draft Knowers proclaimed to be one of the two or three most talented players in the entire prospect pool. Naturally, Bush’s inherent dynamism drew—and to this point has repeatedly drawn—favorable comparisons to Ryan Shazier; a player who, if we’re using sheer athletic prowess as a measuring stick (and it’s my blog, so I’m gonna), was among the league’s uppermost echelon of inside linebackers. He “was” as in “when he was healthy” as in “before he suffered a brutal and catastrophic spinal injury during a game, which was broadcast to a national audience.” Shazier, as you are undoubtedly aware, has spent the past year and a half laboring intensely in order to re-learn the various physical mechanisms that made him such a covetable NFL prospect in the first place. The fact that he’s now walking at all is a testament to the marvels of modern medicine, but that he’s performing dead-lifts and box jumps a mere 18 months after being rendered temporarily paralyzed—and I say this without a shred of hyperbole—is remarkable and awe-inspiring. Ryan Shazier is hellbent on one day returning to professional football, and, if that’s truly what he desires, I hope he does. The Steelers, to say nothing of the NFL more broadly, almost certainly feel likewise, as Shazier’s return would punctuate the comeback tale to end all comeback tales, a story of heartbreak, perseverance, and redemption. (In other words, there is profit to be made in leveraging Shazier’s heroics.) But the Steelers are nothing if not pragmatic, and on draft night they kept the grim but probable eventuality that Ryan Shazier may never return to professional football at the forefront of the decision-making process James Conner Jersey , which in turn led them to trade up in order to draft the player they wanted. This is more than fine. Being adept in coverage is a baseline job requirement for inside linebackers, so drafting Bush would’ve made sense even if Shazier had never gotten injured in the first place. Much like pass rushers and cornerbacks, you can never have too many hybrid linebackers. But what kinda rubs me the wrong way is the way the word “replacement” is being used to discuss the circumstances that led to Bush’s recruitment. Ryan Shazier cannot be replaced, not his corporeal presence nor his specter. Devin Bush understands this as well as anyone. “I think Ryan Shazier was a great player, still is and I hope to see him soon,” said Bush. “I wish all the best to Ryan Shazier with his recovery and I know he’s going to do well. I know he has the heart to and has the will to – he will be back.”“I’m just ready to be Devin Bush. I’m not trying to compare myself to Ryan Shazier or anybody else. I’m going to come in and be Devin Bush.”(That’s a PR-engineered response, of course, but the sincere candor with which it was delivered leads me to believe that Bush is a genuine and thoughtful young man.) I know that Devin Bush has yet to play a single down, but I’m already impressed.[Steps down from soapbox]Stock report!Stock up: The linebacking corpsSome actual analysis: Bush is awesome. Nearly everyone who regularly visits this blog had Bush on their wishlist, so the Steelers trading up 10 spots to get him feels like the pre-preseason equivalent of winning the Super Bowl. What’s so great about Bush is that, in all likelihood, we’ll get to see him make an immediate impact. It’s easy to envision the Browns or Ravens or whoever pitching the ball outside on 3rd and 3, Bush diagnosing the play, selecting his angle of attack, and walloping the back into another plane of existence well short of the line to gain. I can imagine Bush feigning blitz, only to drop back in coverage and snare an interception, a tangible reward for his exemplary deceit. I can picture, vividly, Bush running downfield stride-for-stride with some beefy tight end and swatting the pass safely away at the last second. With Bush, along with incumbent Vince Williams and newcomer Mark Barron, the Steelers finally have a respectable-looking inside linebacker corps, one that is versatile enough to do everything that Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator will ask them to do. Stock down: Safety depthNotably absent from Pittsburgh’s draft haul was a safety, which is a frightening development when considering that the depth chart includes Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Dangerfield (horrendous), and Marcus Allen (who has never played a down in the NFL). (They signed someone called Dravon Askew-Henry as an undrafted free agent, but that hardly counts as “addressing the position.”) What’s interesting, though https://www.thesteelerslockerroom.com/authentic-terrell-edmunds-jersey , is that Tomlin suggested that both Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton can play safety. I am totally into this idea! The Steelers currently find themselves with a surfeit of cornerbacks, so it makes sense that they’d toy with the idea of moving them around. Artie Burns is trash as a cornerback, but maybe he totally rules as a safety. It could be that Artie Burns is the next Ed Reed!Of course, there exists the possibility that the Steelers neglecting to draft a safety was them hedging their bets that a veteran safety from another team will be released down the line. Stock up: Big BenDiontae Johnson is an undersized and under-recruited but nonetheless talented and explosive receiver from the MAC. Hmmm...Stock down: Benny SnellI love that the Steelers picked Benny Snell, but I am very dubious of his enlistment yielding any observable results. Since 2014, when Le’Veon Bell emerged as a superstar, Mike Tomlin has steadfastly refused to adopt a running back by committee approach, instead opting to let one lead dog handle the bulk of the backfield duties. James Conner is a lesser version of Bell, but he’s still capable of doing a little bit of everything extremely well, so as long as he’s healthy, he will handle an overwhelming majority of the backfield touches. Snell is a nice player; I just question his utility. What I would like to see happen is this: Conner remains the lead back, responsible for maybe 60 or 70 percent of the touches out of the backfield; Snell, meanwhile, handles the remaining 30 or 40 percent and Jaylen Samuels is moved to H-back or tight end. This will not happen. Stock down: Chris Boswell and Jordan BerryNot surprisingly, the Steelers signed a pair of specialists from the post-draft scrap heap. Boswell and Berry are gonna have to earn their jobs this summer. Stock down: The Steelers I’m not really in the business of handing out draft grades, but I think the Steelers did pretty well. Not drafting a safety, in my opinion, is completely bonkers and irresponsible (I look to round four, in which the Steelers passed on highly-regarded safety Deionte Thompson in favor of Snell, a player who, as mentioned above, may struggle to find playing time in his rookie season), but trading up to snag Bush was a home run and both Johnson and fifth-round pick Zach Gentry could play very prominent roles in 2019. This isn’t about what the Steelers did or failed to do, but more about what the Ravens and Browns, the Steelers primary competition in the AFC North, managed to do. The Browns, despite not having a first-round pick, got a player in Greedy Williams who a number of pundits and Draft Knowers pegged as first-round talent. They did well to address other positions of need with their remaining picks (their fifth-round pick Womens Terrell Edmunds Jersey , Mack Wilson, is a player I loved a whole bunch) and built promisingly on what on paper is one of the three or four most-talented rosters in the AFC. The Ravens, meanwhile, rounded out their offense by drafting two potential starters in Marquise Brown and Ben Powers as well as big-bodied receiver Miles Boykin and speedy running back Justice Hill. I was disgusted by the Hill pick, because he working in concert with Lamar Jackson is going to present some logistical difficulties. For good measure, the Ravens drafted Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, who some analysts suggested could play a Julian Edelman-type role for Baltimore. That’s the worst sentence I’ve ever written. The Steelers’ foremost concern obviously should be getting back on track after falling apart down the stretch last season and making the most of Big Ben’s fleeting prime years, and that’s a mighty task in an of itself, but the Ravens and Browns made it that much harder. PITTSBURGH (AP) — On the surface they’re identical. Below the surface too. Large. Loud. Remarkably athletic and remarkably close. Well compensated and well tattooed.Still, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey believes there is one surefire way to tell him and Los Angeles Chargers center (and very slightly older brother) Mike apart on Sunday night when the Chargers visit Heinz Field.Just have the twins switch places at halftime and let Maurkice snap the ball to Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers for a quarter or two. Then the differences between the Pounceys will be unmistakable.“I’ll take that team to the next level baby,” Maurkice Pouncey said, voice dripping with sarcasm. “They’ll definitely notice.”Maurkice is kidding. Mostly, though he does have a slight edge over Mike in Pro Bowl selections (six to three). The 29-year-olds are well aware of the unique opportunity playing against each other offers. Separated by a minute at birth, the Pounceys were virtually inseparable growing up until Maurkice left the University of Florida for the NFL in 2010.They’ve spent their professional lives rooting for each other from afar — Sunday is only the fifth time they’ll be together in the same NFL stadium — and both feared Mike’s career might be in jeopardy after a hip injury limited him to five games with the Miami Dolphins in 2016.“It was a point that we both thought that and it was tough,” Maurkice said. “Lord willing, a lot of hard work, and the doctors did a great job. Obviously he’s playing at a high level and he’s been blessed to be out there.”Mike returned to play a full 16 games last season, but found himself looking for work after the Dolphins cut him in a salary cap move in March. The Chargers sprinted to scoop him up, bringing him to the West Coast on a two-year, $15 million deal just four days after getting released. The change of scenery provided Mike Pouncey with a mid-career jolt, and his presence has played a significant role in the Chargers’ hot 8-3 start.“We knew it was a big signing when we signed him,” Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn said. “But it’s even better than what I thought.”Asked what the Mike Pouncey experience is like, Lynn laughed.“I’m pretty sure it’s similar to what you guys have in Pittsburgh,” he said.Translation: a lot of jokes. A lot of trash talk. And a relentless work ethic that belies their copious amounts of swagger.“He’s the same player as me,” Mike Pouncey said. “He’s going to go out there and give you everything he has on each play. (My teammates) more excited (than I am) because we have a real good friendship on this team, and they go out there and talk smack to my brother to make me feel a little bit better. It’s going to be fun.”The entire Pouncey clan will descend on Maurkice’s house in the Pittsburgh suburbs on Saturday. As for split allegiances, Maurkice’s offer to host came with one very simple directive: If you root for the Steelers, you can crash at his place. If not? You’re on your own.How tight are they? Maurkice admits Mike might be the only person in the world outside of his children he actually calls on the phone rather than just texting.It’s the same for Derek and T.J. Watt T. J. Watt Jersey White , though the two brothers — T.J. is a second-year linebacker for the Steelers, Derek is in his third season as a fullback for the Chargers — won’t have the luxury of standing on the sideline watching the other play like the Pounceys do.There’s a very real chance that T.J. and Derek will find themselves on a collision course sometime Sunday night, the first time that’s ever happened somewhere other than the family backyard or the random University of Wisconsin football practice when both were playing for the Badgers.Not that T.J. believes there’s going to be time to think about bragging rights. If his assignment on a play is to ram into the guy wearing No. 34, then that’s what he’s going to do.“It’s a football game to me,” T.J. said. “I don’t think anything is going to really change. I don’t think in that split second you can determine who’s who and what’s what, so whatever happens, happens.”Older brother J.J., the star defensive end for the Houston Texans, hopes they are forced to ram into each other at least once so “we can settle it once and for all.” Provided, of course, there’s no cheating on either side.“I basically just said, no cut-blocks,” J.J. said. “That’s the only thing. Just don’t go at his knees. Otherwise, everything’s fair.”Though Derek, 26, lacks the star power of his older or his younger brother — both of whom were first-round picks while the Chargers selected Derek in the sixth round in 2016 — T.J., 24, might know better than anyone on the planet that you overlook the middle Watt brother at your own risk.“He may not get all the publicity that J.J. and I get, but Derek’s been in the NFL, this is his third year,” T.J. said. “I don’t see many people in America doing that. I don’t see many people in the world doing that. He’s playing at the highest level. He’s a starting fullback for an NFL team; I think that’s pretty damn cool.”Connie and John Watt will watch their boys go at it from the stands, trying to stay as neutral as possible. They might want to get used to it. All three Watt brothers are on teams heading to the postseason, meaning more family showdowns loom.“I hope the game, I don’t know, I guess ends in a tie,” J.J. Watt said. “I guess that’s probably the best thing for everybody. It’s probably good for (the Texans) too.”

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