4 reasons the Steelers already have the best defense in the NFL

Stephon Tuitt #91 and T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Stephon Tuitt #91 and T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush (55). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

An expected leap by young Steelers defenders

It’s never easy to overcome when your team loses three quality defensive starters in the same season. Bud Dupree made a big impact off the edge for the Steelers in 2020 with his speed to pursue the quarterback and ability to stop the run. Likewise, Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton were both essential to the success of the secondary last season. However, these losses could be overcome by the development of some young, talented Steelers defenders.

The biggest of which is Devin Bush. Bush showed a tremendous amount of promise before landing in Injured Reserve with a torn ACL last season. Fortunately, the injury happened early enough in the year, that he is set to go full speed for training camp. Bush is a phenomenal athlete with great play-making ability at the linebacker position. He could give this defense a huge spark in 2021.

At the same time, the Steelers have a number of other young players who are only starting to scratch the surface. Safties Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick were on the rise last season, and there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to improve. Likewise, young players like Alex Highsmith, Justin Layne, and James Pierre could prove to take a big step up for the Steelers in 2021 – perhaps even make fans forget about their losses this offseason.

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The Steelers aren’t guaranteed to have a great defense in 2021, but all signs are pointing to them having an excellent group yet again this year. It’s not hard to believe that they may already have the best defense entering the new season.