(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pro Football Focus released their linebacker unit rankings on Tuesday, which includes just the inside linebackers, as PFF considers outside linebackers a part of the defensive line, at least when it comes to their rankings. They had the Steelers' defensive line ranked No. 1 in the league, but they were not as high on the linebackers, ranking the Steelers at No. 13.
"The Steelers ask a lot of their inside linebackers, and because of that, we are waiting on Devin Bush to earn the kind of grades his talent suggests he should," Sam Monson of PFF wrote. The best endorsement of his impact thus far has arguably come from what happens when he isn’t in the lineup. Vince Williams returns for 2021, but he is coming off a career-low 50.3 overall grade and has never been a plus player in coverage."
Devin Bush was impressive during his rookie season in 2019 and was performing well last year up until he suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 6 against the Browns. A few weeks ago, Monson ranked Devin Bush 17th among inside linebackers in the NFL.
"We have yet to see everything Devin Bush is capable of at the NFL level," Monson wrote. "His rookie season for the Steelers was solid but not spectacular, and then injury robbed us of seeing his sophomore improvement after just a few games. Bush has flashed impact playmaking ability, but he needs to show clear improvement in consistency in Year 3."
Bush has reportedly been doing great in his rehab and has participated in some drills during OTAs. It's expected that Bush will be ready to go for training camp in late July.
As far as the other inside linebackers, Robert Spillane is the projected starter to be paired with Bush in 2021. Vince Williams also re-signed with the Steelers in April after being released as a cap casualty in March. Spillane filled in well for Bush last year, but he is limited. There's a reason why he went undrafted in 2018. Like Spillane, Williams is better at defending the run than in pass coverage and at the age of 31, this could be Williams' final year in the league. Williams told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that he will think about retirement after this season and has considered getting into coaching.