Chiefs v. Steelers: Is Pittsburgh still dangerous without Antonio Brown?
Defensive notes and players to watch
The Steelers’ defense was one of the more stingy overall units in 2018. According to the advanced statistical model provided by Football Outsiders, the Steelers’ defense was ranked 13th in the NFL last season. However, these advanced statistics take into account the quality of opponents. The basic statistics paint an even rosier picture.
According to ESPN’s statistics, the Steelers’ defense allowed the sixth fewest yards overall last season ranking seventh in rushing yards allowed and 10th in passing yards allowed. With five of their nine 2019 NFL Draft picks being defensive players, including their first overall pick in Devin Bush, I’d expect this defense to be just as strong if not better in 2019.
Speaking of Devin Bush, all reports are that he is the real deal. Bush was constantly a talking point for both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper during the draft process, as well as numerous other analysts. The Michigan product has great size, insane speed at a clip of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and the playmaking ability to be a star at the NFL level.
Reports from Steelers camp are that he’s done nothing but live up to the hype, making plays against both the run and the pass. He followed that up in the Steelers’ first preseason game with a dominant all-around performance. Will Bush become the new focus of offensive coordinators around the NFL?
Ola Adeniyi is also a player to watch against the Steelers. The second-year defensive end was an undrafted free agent in ’18 who has been making waves this training camp. He backed up those reports with a stellar performance in the team’s opening tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Toledo product had three sacks and two forced fumbles last preseason, and started this preseason off on the right foot with five tackles and one quarterback hit. Whether he plays against the starters or the second-string, expect the Chiefs’ offensive line to have their hands full with this young player.
Finally, a player Chiefs’ fans will be particularly interested in watching is former Chiefs’ cornerback Steven Nelson. Nelson had what most would consider a solid yet up-and-down career with the Chiefs due in part to injury. He made his disdain for Bob Sutton known as he left the team, so it will be interesting to see if he can live up to his own image of himself as well as the contract the Steelers’ gave him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chiefs target him early.
- Devin Bush – 1st Round Pick – Linebacker, Michigan
- Steven Nelson – Free Agent – Cornerback, formerly of the Chiefs
Other Players of Note:
- Justin Layne – 2nd Round Pick – Cornerback, Michigan State
- Isaiah Buggs – 6th Round Pick – Defensive Tackle, Alabama