The linebacking core is the backbone of any good defense, and luckily, the Steelers have an incredibly talented group of players at the position. Let’s start inside where rookie Devin Bush and veteran Vince Williams have teamed up to provide the Steelers with quite a duo. Williams, after years of solid play, has developed into the type of reliable contributor that teams around the NFL covet. Bush, on the other hand, has been phenomenal so far in his rookie year. As a turnover-forcing dynamo that seems to always be around the ball, Bush has been worth everything the team gave up in the trade up to take him in the 2019 NFL Draft.
At outside linebacker, T.J. Watt has continued to develop and may have the potential to one day be among the NFL’s best pure pass-rushers. His instincts and power have allowed him to become a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen to handle. His four sacks so far are impressive, but they don’t tell the full story of just how promising Watt is as a cornerstone for this defense. Across from Watt, Bud Dupree is enjoying a bit of a breakout season. Long seen as a first-round bust, Dupree has played well enough this season to earn respect as a potential long-term contributor. Really, the only disappointment has been the play of free agent signing Mark Barron who has looked well past his prime.
After Ryan Shazier‘s devastating injury, nobody knew how long it would be before the Steelers once again had a respectable linebacking crew. It hasn’t been easy, but it does appear that the team finally has the right players in place, and their impact has been undeniable. A young unit that has exceeded all expectations, the Steelers have to love what they have here.