Which Steelers LB will earn the biggest role alongside Devin Bush?

Robert Spillane #41 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)
Robert Spillane #41 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /
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Robert Spillane of the Pittsburgh Steelers M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports /

Robert Spillane

At the start of the 2020 season, most fans didn’t even know who Robert Spillane was. Pittsburgh went into the season with very little depth at the linebacker position, and Spillane – a former undrafted free agent – was the best option they had.

Surprisingly, Spillane filled in quite nicely last season. After playing just 8 total defensive snaps through the first four games, Spillane saw that number rise drastically after Bush’s injury. In his first start against the Tennessee Titans (the team that he spent some time with after going undrafted in 2018), Spillane exploded onto the NFL scene.

He made his presence felt against the Titans when he took cracked Derrick Henry at the goal-line to help prevent the touchdown (with some assistance from T.J. Watt, of course). The following game against the Ravens, Spillane returned a Lamar Jackson interception for a touchdown. However, late in the season, Spillane came back down to earth, and he was picked on in the playoffs over the middle of the field.

Of the group of linebackers this year, Spillane is probably the best bet to see the most snaps alongside Devin Bush, as he showed the ability to operate in every-down work. While he’s better in coverage than Williams, Spillane is still a super athlete that doesn’t have a lot of long-term upside at the position.