Derwin Gray Jersey

Derwin Gray, an offensive tackle out of Maryland and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, signed a four-year deal with the team on Wednesday. Gray is the third Pittsburgh rookie to sign with the team on Wednesday, joining fellow draft picks Diontae Johnson (a wide receiver out of Toledo) and Benny Snell (a running back out of Kentucky).

Derwin Gray has his first Steelers contract to celebrate after signing with the Steelers on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

Sutton Smith (an outside linebacker out of Northern Illinois) and fellow sixth round pick Isaiah Buggs (defensive lineman out of Alabama) were the first Steelers’ rookies that signed their rookie deals. Smith and Buggs signed their rookie contracts on Tuesday. Pittsburgh’s rookies that remain unsigned are first round pick Devin Bush (inside linebacker out of Michigan), third round pick Justin Layne (a cornerback out of Michigan State), fifth round pick Zach Gentry (a tight end out of Michigan), and sixth round pick Ulysees Gilbert (inside linebacker from Akron).

Gray, an honorable-mention Big 10 selection in 2018, spoke with Jim Wexell of 247Sports shortly after being selected by the Steelers with the 2019th overall pick in the draft. The 6’5, 330-pound Gray joins a Pittsburgh offensive line that boasts three Pro Bowlers in Maurkice Pouncey, Alejandro Villanueva and David DeCastro. It also includes longtime starter Ramon Foster along with solid backup B.J. Finney, an undrafted rookie who is entering his fifth season with the team.
“It was always great with the Steelers,” Gray said of his pre-draft conversations with Pittsburgh. “They always believed in me. They trusted in me. The believed in my ability that I’m going to get the job done. I’m excited about the opportunity to come to Pittsburgh and contribute early at whatever position I’m needed at.”

Gray was also asked about joining arguably the NFL’s best offensive line.

“They’re pretty good of the line,” he said. “I’m just willing to come in and learn as much as I can from all these guys up front and be a student of the game. So I’m excited to come in and learn from all of these guys up front.”

Gray, who said that he played both left and right tackle during his time at Maryland, said that he is willing to switch positions if asked to do so.
“I’m not really sure where they are going to move me at or keep me out at tackle,” he said, “but I’m willing to play either one.”

Pittsburgh’s offensive line is coming off of another banner season. In 2018, the unit helped Ben Roethlisberger lead the NFL with 5,129 passing yards while throwing a club record 34 touchdown passes. The line also aided a formidable rushing attack that featured Pro Bowler James Conner. Pittsburgh’s line continued to play well when Conner went down with an injury in Week 13, creating holes that helped Jaylen Samuels rush for 142 yards on 19 carries in the team’s Week 15 win over New England.

Gray will compete for playing time in 2019 with third round pick Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins, a fourth round pick back in 2016 that has been hampered by injuries during the first three years of his career.

Ulysees Gilbert Jersey

Thanks to the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers now have an excess of linebackers. It’s going to be the job of the coaching staff to figure out which guys stay and which guys go and even who is going to play which position.

It’s clear based on the players the Steelers brought in this offseason, they are blurring the lines between traditional roles of linebackers in a 3-4 defense. Devin Bush, Mark Barron, Sutton Smith and Ulysees Gilbert III are all new additions with unique skills sets and NFL-caliber athleticism.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke about the new linebackers and his comments on Gilbert was quite interesting. Tomlin lumped Gilbert in with second-year player Ola Adeniyi and fellow rookie Sutton Smith as potential depth at outside linebacker.

In studying Gilbert you note he was moved all around the formation at Akron and with his athleticism, it makes sense you don’t want to lock him into a spot. But if we are talking about Gilbert as an outside linebacker, his success will be off ball and not with his hand on the ground as an edge rusher.
The addition of Gilbert, if he can drop into coverage as an OLB could potentially allow T.J. Watt to rush the passer more. Watt is the no worse than the second-best pass rusher on the team along with Cam Heyward but because he’s such a good athlete finds himself in coverage too much.

Players like Gilbert and Devin Bush have the chance to balance the scales for the Steelers defense against all these high-flying offenses of the NFL. If they can do this, players like Watt and Heyward could absolutely feast on quarterbacks knowing there is coverage flexibility behind them.

Isaiah Buggs Jersey

Isaiah Buggs became the first of the Steelers’ nine 2019 draft picks to sign his rookie contract with the team on Tuesday.

Isaiah Buggs #49 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a safety against the Missouri Tigers in the third quarter of the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The 6-foot-3, 306-pound defensive tackle – like all NFL draft picks – is inking a tightly templates deal. The league assigns salaries on a sliding scale based on draft position. His four-year deal is projected to pay him $2,667,294, including a $147,294 signing bonus — the only portion of these contracts truly guaranteed.
Buggs joins a defensive line that already includes Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu and Daniel McCullers. He joins his former Crimson Tide position coach, Karl Dunbar, who joined Pittsburgh’s staff before last season.

The Steelers had about $4.8 million in cap space as of Tuesday’s NFL Players Association report. Buggs’ signing would only be impacted by his signing bonus. His $495,000 base salary only displaces another $495,000 base salary in the top 51 cap hits that count against the team at this point in the offseason.

Steelers rookies report for their minicamp on Friday.

Sutton Smith Jersey

Sutton Smith was considered a steal when Pittsburgh made the former Northern Illinois pass rusher the 175th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. During his final two seasons at NIU, Smith, who converted from RB to OLB to DE during his time with the Huskies, recorded 29.0 sacks during his final two seasons while helping Northern Illinois capture the Mid-American Conference title last season.

While he did have some glowing things to say about Smith, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper did express concern for Smith’s lack of size shortly after the Steelers drafted him in the fifth round. Smith, who will line up at OLB for the Steelers, checks in at 6’1 and 237 pounds.

“He was a dominant force at Northern Illinois,” Kiper said of Sutton. “Getting into that backfield, wreaking havoc. He was a sack artist. He had production through the roof. The issue is the NFL is gonna be [his] short arms. Can he get the job done against the best in the world at the offensive tackle spot…He is a solid football player at the collegiate level who made a ton of big plays. Very impactful edge rusher getting into that backfield, wreaking havoc.
“Is he limited to being just that or can he transition to the pro level, overcome the lack of length getting after the quarterback?” Kiper continued. “That’s tough to do, even though he does have that closing speed (he ran a sub 4.7 40-yard-dash at the combine). It’s gonna be interesting to watch and see how he develops in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are always looking for guys coming off the edge.”
Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert, speaking on 93.7 The Fan after the draft, is not worried about Smith’s lack of size. In fact, Colbert compared him James Harrison, the franchise’s all-time sack leader. Despite being labeled as small for his position, Harrison, who was listed during his playing days at 6’0 and 242 pounds, was a five time Pro Bowler, two time All-Pro and the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Harrison, an undrafted rookie out of Kent State in 2002, also retired with two Super Bowl rings.

“[People] talk about, ‘Well, he’s going to be short’ and that but he was very productive like James Harrison was in the MAC, with (14.0) and 15.0 sacks,” Colbert said of Smith. “Can the shorter guys succeed as an outside rusher? Yes they can. Again, we look at James for that reference.”

Smith is used to be doubted. After barley playing during his first two collegiate seasons, he went through a rigorous offseason workout regiment that required him to consume 6,000-7,000 calories per day. Sutton’s hard work resulted in him being on of college football’s most productive pass rushers over the past two years.
Now, as he prepares to begin his career in Pittsburgh, Smith is again looking forward to proving people wrong.

“My path is to fight, and that’s all I know how to do is fight,” Smith recently said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m going to do everything I can to prove to people that I can be an NFL player, that I can do whatever they need me to do. I’m not going to be selfish. I’m just going to try and help the team in any way that I can.”

Zach Gentry Jersey

The Pittsburgh Steelers selection of Michigan tight end Zach Gentry was something of a surprise pick in the fifth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft, a player many experts had projected to go few round later. And although the young tight end did not necessarily impress at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier in the year, his size should make him a mismatch for defenders as long as he can learn to use his physical gifts.

When reading the scouting reports written about him ahead of the draft, the experts seem to see a player who still has a lot of development ahead of him, but one who could also have some situational value while he works on some of the fundamental aspects of the position.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com:

“With his size and background at Michigan, teams might be tempted to play him as a combination tight end with run-blocking duties, but he’s much better-suited in space than in the trenches. Gentry runs pretty well and moves fluidly as a route-runner, but his hands and focus can be maddening. He showed flashes of what he could do with a more capable quarterback last year, but his disappointing workouts and testing might have pushed back and out of the draft.”

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report:

STRENGTHS

Smooth runner on film who gets into his route cleanly and has good cuts and breaks at his route stem.

Big target over the middle with a high football IQ. Makes himself available to the quarterback with his eyes and his body.

Has some seam speed and value as a 50-50 option down the field. His 34⅛-inch arms give him a massive catch radius.

Will post up defenders over the middle and isn’t afraid of traffic.

Developmental body that looks like it has room to grow; former quarterback who still has the lean body more natural to his old position.

WEAKNESSES

Among the stiffest players evaluated in the entire 2019 draft class. Lacks the light feet and loose hips to make cuts and pull away from coverage.

Tested below-average athletically with a 4.9-second 40-yard dash, 29½-inch vertical jump, 110-inch broad jump, 7.4-second three-cone drill and just 12 bench-press reps. Each was good for the bottom 25th percentile among tight ends or worse.

Lacks play strength, especially in the blocking game.

His hands are incredibly inconsistent; he double catches a lot of balls and lets way too many throws get into his body.

Doesn’t appear to be super coordinated; doesn’t have good body control or flexibility.

OVERALL

Zach Gentry is a former quarterback who still has room to develop physically and mentally as a three-down tight end. He didn’t develop much in the Michigan offense and will need time to acclimate to the NFL. He’s a draft-and-stash type of player and not an early-impact tight end.

GRADE: 5.40 (ROUND 6 — BACKUP CALIBER) PRO COMPARISON: Ryan Griffin

Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network:

“Zach Gentry is a seam-buster Tight End prospect who has attractive size and mobility to be considered a receiving asset at the next level. His height will serve as a natural barrier to playing with necessary functional strength, but when Gentry is placed into space and allowed to work vertically he does strong work against linebackers and safeties. Gentry may never be a featured full-time TE but his skills have a place at the next level as a receiving threat.”

Joe Marino, The Draft Network:

“While Gentry may be built like an in-line tight end, his lack of power at the point of attack and elongated releases into his route stems present notable restrictions. Gentry is most effective as a middle of the field receiver where his ball skills, hands and ability to extend and already massive catch radius frequently shows up. Limited athletic ability and leverage challenges do temper his next level projection, but Gentry has some appeal in sub packages as a TE 2/3.”

Benny Snell Jersey

Benny Snell, Pittsburgh’s fourth round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is extremely happy that he will begin his professional football career with the Steelers. Kentucky’s all-time career rushing leader said just that during an interview with 93.7 The Fan on Friday.

“Benny Snell”的图片搜索结果

The 5’11, 223-pound back rushed for 3,873 yards and 48 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry during his time with the Wildcats. He saved one of his best college performances for last, rushing for 144 yards and two scores on 26 carries to help lift his Kentucky Wildcats to a 27-24 victory over Penn State in the 2019 Citrus Bowl. Snell won offensive MVP honors for his performance.

“I felt like I was made to be a Steeler,” Snell said. “It was just right. It feels right. This is my type of football and the fit was just perfect. I feel that I’ve been in a lot of situations, and the NFL is completely different, but I feel like I’ve had pressure on my shoulders on so many occasions that I became successful at the end of the game. Or I was able to get those tough yards, get the touchdown if needed, so I feel like whatever situation I’m put in, I’m going to try to give my best so we can have the best outcome.”
What does Snell expect to bring to Pittsburgh’s offense in 2019?

“I try not to let one guy tackle me so running people over and getting those tough yards is just kind of natural to me,” Snell said. “With me being the size that I am, I feel like I’m pretty stout as a pass blocker. Things are pretty different in the NFL so I’m going to have to adjust to that.”

Eddie Faulkner, who is entering his first year as Pittsburgh’s running backs coach, discussed the selection of Snell last weekend. He also talked about how he sees Snell fitting in the offense.

“I mean I think Benny provides a lot of depth,” Faulkner said. “He’s just a good football player. In my experience, when you have a roster of good football players, and guys who come everyday and put it to work, I mean he’s going to bring that to the equation. When you have that passion of love for football, they’re going to be willing to contribute in whatever capacity that they can. Not just in the running back room, but with Danny Smith, in special teams, and things in that nature. Again, very excited in what he brings, and we added another great football player to the roster.”

Snell also confirmed his desire to wear No. 26, the number previously worn in Pittsburgh by Le’Veon Bell.

“I came in, I kind of was thinking I might want to do the fresh start thing and not grab 26,” he said. “But I feel like 26 is something I can inherit, so we can forget about the past. This is a new beginning for the team. They’re kinda rookie’ing me for my number right now, but I can say it’s going to be a 20 number, for sure, and you know, I’m just taking it slow.”

Mark Stoops, Snell’s head coach at Kentucky, believes that Snell’s underdog mentality will continue to serve him well at the next level.

“Benny is going to be successful because that is just the way he is wired and he is going to work really hard,” Stoops said in the week leading up to the draft. “That is a great mentality to have because those yards are tough to come by in the SEC — and look at the success he has had — and they are hard to come by in the NFL. You need a player like that.”

Justin Layne Jersey

Justin Layne grew up in Cleveland in a family of Browns fans.

His hometown team bypassed the former Michigan State cornerback in the second round in favor of Greedy Williams. Layne – projected by some as a possible first-round pick – waited deep into the third round before finally getting a phone call.

From the Browns’ biggest rival.

“Where you? You in Cleveland, Ohio, tonight?” Mike Tomlin asked Layne on Friday night. “We shouldn’t have any problem getting you over here tomorrow at some point then, man. Are you ready to be a Pittsburgh Steeler?”

With that, going No. 83 overall after leaving MSU a year early, Layne’s professional future was set.

As for his family allegiances?
“My dad threw away all his Browns stuff. He already has all of his Steelers stuff on him right now,” Layne told reporters on a teleconference. “We are ready, we are switching it up. … We are taking all of the Browns stuff down right now.

“Be ready, I’m ready.”

Layne’s selection extended the Spartans’ streak in the NFL draft to 79 straight years, the third-longest in the Football Bowl Subdivision and going back to 1941. MSU is one of five schools to have at least one player taken each year since the modern draft began in 1967.
Layne joins Michigan linebacker Devin Bush Jr. in Pittsburgh. The Steelers selected Bush 10th overall on Thursday.

A number of mock drafts projected Layne as a second-round selection, with a few – including ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. – projecting he could go in the late first round.

He did not get picked Thursday, and waited and watched a run on cornerbacks starting with the beginning of Friday night’s second round.
Ten corners went in front of him – Deandre Baker in the first round, seven in the second round and one in the third. That group included Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting to Tampa Bay at No. 39 overall. Michigan’s David Long went to the Los Angeles Rams four picks ahead of Layne.

“I expected to go in the second round, but it’s all good,” Layne said. “They are going to feel me, it’s all good.”

Michigan State Spartans cornerback Justin Layne (2) attempts to make a catch during the first quarter of a game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Spartan Stadium.


Steelers senior defensive assistant/secondary Teryl Austin told reporters he does not believe it is because of any issues with Layne’s game, and that he “didn’t think (Layne) would be around this long.”

“I’m not sure what the flaw is,” said Austin, the former Detroit Lions defensive coordinator. “There are a lot of good football players that probably got picked before him. I think it’s just a matter of flavor. And I think when we saw him sitting where he was, I’m very excited to have him.”

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Layne impressed scouts at the NFL combine in February, and his stock built into a top-50 player by a number of draft experts after that performance.

Layne finished fifth for the Spartans last season with 72 tackles, including a team-high 15 pass breakups and an interception in 12 starts en route to second-team All-Big Ten honors. He started 26 games at cornerback in three seasons after making his debut at wide receiver as a true freshman in 2016. He finished his career with 130 tackles and three interceptions.

“When I first saw him, I thought he was really quick bodied, long arms, good ball skills, and very competitive,” Austin said. “I think that’s one thing that sticks out with him when you watch him. He’s competitive. He’s not afraid to throw it up in there. He’ll tackle. He’ll compete at the point of attack for a ball. So he’s got a lot of good things to work with.”

The Steelers have three cornerbacks, including starter Joe Haden along with backups Mike Hilton and Artie Burns, who can become free agents in 2020. They added former Kansas City cornerback Steven Nelson in the offseason.

NFL Network analyst Joel Klatt had rave reviews for Layne.
“I think this guy is a highly competitive, very sticky, comfortable, physical player,” Klatt said. “You’ve got to be that if you’re going to play for Mark Dantonio on that defense, in particular in the boundary, which he was most of the time. A lot of short side field for Justin Layne. But this is the type of guy that understands how to cover.”

Layne, who arrived at MSU as a 4-star receiver but quickly shifted to cornerback midseason as a true freshman in 2016, deemed himself “a football player at the end of the day.”

One who will be wearing black and gold instead of orange and brown. Something he thought might happen.

“I talked to the coaching staff, coach Tomlin a lot at the combine,” Layne said. “Even at my pre-draft visits, I kind of had a feeling and knew they were going to get me. I don’t know. It was just a feeling I had. It was in my dream and just what I felt. I felt like I was going to go against our rivals, and they are the rivals to the Browns.”

Layne’s first step will be making an impact in rookie minicamp in the coming weeks. He already has his new coach’s attention.

“I’m comfortable with his ball skills after watching him play and talking to people and being at his workout. And I’m comfortable with where he is,” Austin said. “And it’s just a matter of turning that into production at this level.”

Diontae Johnson Jersey

The Pittsburgh Steelers expect third-round picks Diontae Johnson and Justin Layne to get their hands on the ball. That’s where the similarities in their job descriptions end.

Fans sit on the main stage during the second round

The Steelers began the process of reloading following the high-profile departure of star wide receiver Antonio Brown by taking Johnson with the 66th overall selection in the NFL draft on Friday night then took aim at a secondary in serious need of a ballhawk or two by grabbing Layne with the 83rd pick.

Johnson understands the parallels he shares with Brown. Both are 5-foot-10. Both are around 180 pounds. Both played collegiately in the Mid-American Conference. Both posted 40-yard dash times that didn’t exactly dazzle pro scouts.

Yet Johnson — selected with a pick the Steelers acquired when they sent Brown to Oakland in March — knows that’s where the parallels end. Brown is a great player. The three-year letterman at Toledo is eager to write his own story.

“At the end of the day, I can only be me,” Johnson said. “Do what I do best.”

Namely, attack defenses in a way that renders his lack of breakaway speed — at least according to the stopwatch — meaningless. The player who ran a so-so 4.53-second, 40-yard dash won over the Steelers’ coaching staff with his ability to win one-on-one battles at the line of scrimmage.

Head coach Mike Tomlin noticed Johnson first then sent wide receivers coach Darry Drake to do some digging. What Drake found turned him into Johnson’s biggest advocate in the team’s draft war room.

“He’s a tremendously gifted young man,” Drake said. “The most natural catcher that I’ve seen in a while. … He doesn’t have great timed speed but he plays the game fast. He’s really, really good against the press and this is a press league. DBs walk up to your face and try to fingerprint you. He gets off bumps, gets in and out of his breaks as well as anybody I’ve seen in a long time.”

Johnson caught 43 passes for 663 yards and seven touchdowns for the Rockets as a redshirt junior last season and was named the MAC’s Special Teams Player of the Year after returning a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns. He’ll likely get a chance at special teams too, where Brown first distinguished himself after being taken in the sixth round out of Central Michigan in 2010 before developing into one of the top receivers in the league.

Brown’s record-setting run in Pittsburgh ended with an ugly divorce in the offseason, with the Steelers sending him to the Raiders. They used one of the picks they acquired from Oakland to grab a player that joins a room that will have a decidedly different feel with the prolific but also high-maintenance Brown out west.

This is the third straight season the Steelers have taken a wide receiver in the top three rounds of the draft. They selected JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round in 2017 and James Washington in the second round last year. Pittsburgh signed former Jacksonville Jaguar Donte Moncrief to a two-year deal in March and also have Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers in the mix.

Drake likes Johnson’s versatility and expects the Steelers will move him around instead of just sticking him in the slot. Drake also isn’t worried about Johnson’s 40-time. The coach who counts Larry Fitzgerald among his former pupils doesn’t believe the stopwatch tells the whole story.

“We want that guy, that blazer but normally with that package of that dynamic speed, very seldom do you get the total package,” Drake said. “This guy has the ability to be a total package guy.”

Pittsburgh is hoping to one day say the same about Layne, who arrived at Michigan State as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback during his freshman season to help address a spate of injuries at the position. At 6-2 and 192 pounds he has the size to be a potential difference maker on the outside for a secondary that picked off just five passes in 2018.

“He’s competitive, he’s not afraid to throw it up in there,” Steelers defensive backs coach Teryl Austin said. “He’s got a lot of good things to work with.”

Even if Layne didn’t always get a chance to show it. He picked off just three passes during his career with the Spartans, though his 15 pass breakups in 2018 ranked among the top 10 in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Layne called the move from offense to defense “nothing major.” Last he checked, the game is still the game.

“I’ve been playing both ways my whole life,” said Layne, who went to Benedictine High School in Cleveland, the alma mater of late Hall of Fame Steelers coach Chuck Noll. “I’m a football player today. I expected to go in the second round but it’s all good. They’re going to feel me.”

Devin Bush Jersey

Devin Bush Jr. picked up his phone Thursday night and heard Mike Tomlin ask a question he’d been waiting two years to ask.

Devin Bush is selected as the 10th overall pick at the draft in downtown Nashville, Tenn.

Are you ready to be a Pittsburgh Steeler?

“Hell yeah,” Bush replied. “I’m ready.”

Michigan’s junior All-American linebacker went off the board at No. 10 overall in the NFL draft on Thursday night, becoming the highest U-M selection since offensive tackle Jake Long went No. 1 overall in 2008.

And for the Steelers, the wait was long enough.
Pittsburgh didn’t think Bush would be on the board beyond No. 11. So the Steelers opted to move up 10 spots, swapping first-round picks with the Denver Broncos and giving up a second-round choice in 2019 and a third-rounder in 2020 for the right to take the player they entered the draft wanting the most.

“We identified Devin even going back into last year, watching him (as a sophomore at Michigan),” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday night. “We scouted him extensively. We had four different people go in, myself included. We saw him play live games. We visited him at the combine. We visited with him the night before his pro day. Attended his pro day.
“This is a quality, quality young man and an excellent football player.”

The Steelers — who began the draft with 10 picks before making the move — jumped at the opportunity to grab who most believe is a prototype for the new wave of inside linebackers in the NFL. Bush ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine this winter. He measured in at 5-foot-11, 234 pounds. He can play sideline to sideline and cover.
He made plays everywhere at Michigan and Pittsburgh knew it.
Both Tomlin and Colbert said they spent time talking to as many Michigan players as they could and wound up hearing the same thing more often than not: Bush was the leader of the defense, one of the country’s top outfits over the last two years.

“He’s an all-situation linebacker,” Tomlin said. “We’re equally as fired up about his intangibles. He comes from a football family, he’s a football guy. Everyone speaks very highly of him as a player and a person.

“We interviewed a lot of Michigan players during the draft process and it was unanimous of who their unquestioned leader was. The position he plays is like a defensive quarterback, that’s something that comes very natural to him.”

Pittsburgh is still in the process of replacing Ryan Shazier, who suffered a likely career-ending injury two years ago.

Colbert said the trade was a logical move, as Bush was high enough on Pittsburgh’s board that the entire organization believed giving up two picks was worth it.

This was the third time in Colbert’s tenure as the Steelers’ general manager that he opted to trade up for a draft pick. The previous two moves netted Pittsburgh Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes.

Those players both helped the franchise win a Super Bowl.

Colbert is hoping Bush, who Tomlin said will have a chance to play early with the franchise, can do the same.

“We’ll see,” he said. “If Devin helps us win a Super Bowl, it’ll be very similar.”

As for Bush?

He’s ready to get to work.

“I think I’m a good fit because I love to win, and this team wants to win,” he said. “I’m a guy that loves to win and just put me in the team nucleus. Being able to put a guy that loves to win, you know that’s how effective he’s going to be.

“Have a winning attitude, go to practice to win so that’s what they’re looking for.”

Rocky Bleier Jersey

The narrative of what happened Sunday in Oakland regarding Ben Roethlisberger’s rib injury and his availability has changed over the past two days.

Ben Roethlisberger drops back to pass Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Oakland. The Steelers QB injured his ribs during the loss.

What had been a broadside criticism of coach Mike Tomlin from many sides for his use and non-use of his starting quarterback in Oakland took a different turn after several sources provided new information.

It does not reach the level of calling it Rib-gate, or even X-ray-gate. We suppose Roethlisberger and Tomlin are partly to blame for much of the skepticism because their explanations immediately after the game were not real clear. That led to all kinds of speculation about what really happened, including those who suggested Roethlisberger should have fought to play if he were healthy.

But coaches and players are not always clear during interviews right after such a bitter defeat on the final play of the game.
It would appear nothing nefarious took place, unless you want to blame Oakland’s setup and X-ray technician, who was missing and unavailable to run the X-ray for a while, and his X-ray machine that took the picture of Roethlisberger’s ribs that, according to Tomlin, was “unreadable.”

“One hour before kickoff, the medical staff from both teams, as well as unaffiliated medical staff in the stadium, come together for a pre-game meeting led by the head physician for the home team,” an NFL spokesperson said Tuesday evening via email. “They review a number of items including the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and path to the X-ray unit to ensure medical care is as efficient and complete as possible.”

Dr. David J. Chao, a former San Diego team orthopedic surgeon, wrote about the Oakland X-ray room on Tuesday in the San Diego Union Tribune.

“The setup in Oakland is awful,” Chao wrote. “The X-ray machine is a long way from the field and up three flights of stairs. There are certainly complications there that don’t arise in other stadiums.”

We’re told that broken ribs are notoriously difficult to diagnose with an X-ray even when the photo is clear, although it was funny when Tomlin called the Raiders’ X-ray equipment “outdated.”

That is why Roethlisberger had an MRI on Monday in Pittsburgh, which diagnosed his injury as bruised ribs.

The Steelers’ doctor administered a pain-killing shot to the quarterback at halftime in Oakland and he finally came out on the field and waited for the medication to kick in. Once he felt good enough to play, he told them, and he played.
What’s so mysterious about that?

It’s happened before. Tomlin cited the playoff game in Cincinnati when Roethlisberger was hurt, Landry Jones went in and was ineffective. Roethlisberger went back in and through a miracle performed by the Bengals, the Steelers won.

Roethlisberger also started a game in San Francisco in 2011 on a badly sprained ankle. He probably should not have played that day, but he did, he played poorly and the Steelers lost.
Rocky review

You know the Steelers did not have a good day when Rocky Bleier said he was “done” with them.

Bleier, one of the most venerable players from those 1970s Super Bowl teams, even called for the firing of some coaches. It was reminiscent of Steel Curtain lineman Dwight White ripping the Steelers defenses of the mid-1980s as “soft and cheesy.”

Bleier, though, hasn’t uttered a critical public word in 40 years, despite all those motivational speeches he gives around the country. He made up for it with one Facebook rant Monday.

And when a key player of the ‘70s Steelers speaks, most in Pittsburgh take it to heart. That dynasty will forever remain the most popular in town.

Tomlin took the high road when he responded to a question about what Bleier said, first saying he did not hear it.

“Those guys are entitled to an opinion,” Tomlin said. “They care and care deeply. We appreciate them and respect the fact that they care and care deeply. Trust that we’re equally or more disappointed than Rocky.”

Tomlin had the good taste not to mention that Bleier’s 1980 Steelers, which were going for their third Super Bowl win in a row, finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs. Or that the 1981 Steelers (without Bleier) went 8-8. Both still had Terry Bradshaw in his prime.

Where the Steelers find their kickers

Whatever happens with Chris Boswell, know this — the Steelers have found most of their kickers as cast-offs, going back at least to Gary Anderson whom they claimed off waivers from Buffalo in 1982. And most of them performed well.

More recent examples of players signed by them during the season because of the failure or injuries to their kickers: Jeff Reed (2002), Shaun Suisham (2010) and Boswell (2015).

Boswell signed after they traded for Josh Scobee, who failed miserably. That happened after Suisham blew out his knee in a preseason game.