Steelers roster: Ranking the best options at linebacker next to 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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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (41). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

1.  Robert Spillane

I’m not sure if there should be a lot of dispute for having Robert Spillane as my top option to line up next to Devin Bush this season for the Steelers. Spillane has less than one full year of starting experience, but that didn’t stop him from impressing when Bush went down early last season.

Spillane isn’t particularly special in any area, however, his blend of traits makes him a solid option for the position in 2021. At 25, Spillane is significantly younger than Williams with less wear on his body. While he isn’t the same athlete as players like Buddy Johnson, Marcus Allen, or Ulysees Gilbert, he has enough speed and quickness to make most plays the Steelers would ask of him.

At the same time, Spillane proved to be quite impressive going north and south last season, and he certainly has some stopping power to his game. One of his highlights of the year was stopping running back Derrick Henry in his tracks at the goal line (with some help from T.J. Watt, of course).

Spillane is probably only average compared to other starting NFL linebackers across the league, but he could perform even better in a position that may be more natural for him next to Devin Bush this year. I think he’s the best option for the “Buck” position on the Steelers in 2021.

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It’s likely that all four of these linebackers find the field in some form or fashion this year, but Spillane and Williams are expected to carve out the biggest roles next to Devin Bush in 2021. It will be interesting to see if any of the other young linebackers can push for more playing time this season.