Why you should be excited about sixth-round pick Isaiah Buggs:
He rolled with the Tide: Buggs, 6-foot-3, 306 pounds, led Alabama with 9.5 sacks in 2018 (fourth in the SEC). The Crimson Tide finished fourth in the nation in sacks per game (3.0, 45 total). Buggs also had 13.5 tackles for a loss (second among Alabama defenders), two forced fumbles and three passes defensed last season.
He stepped up when and where it was necessary: Buggs tied for second on the team with six tackles in the National Championship Game against Clemson.
“Buggs plays both inside and outside,” General Manager Kevin Colbert said. “Buggs' role increased this year due to some injuries that Alabama had. He ended up coming through for the Crimson Tide.”
His new coach was his old coach: Buggs was recruited to Alabama from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College by defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, who came to the Steelers from Alabama last season.
“Very explosive guy, he can get to the passer,” Dunbar assessed. “I had the privilege of recruiting him out of Junior College to get him to Alabama and coaching him. He was the No. 1 JUCO kid coming out. He was explosive, a kid that could get on the edge. I think he was a good pass rusher over the offensive guard. So, that was the thing we really liked about him.”
Buggs was, likewise, complimentary regarding Dunbar.
“He’s a great coach,” Buggs said. “He’s taught me everything I know, the ins and outs. Great leader, and I’m just ready to go to work for him again.
“The truth of him buying in on me and me buying in on him, just a great opportunity, he knows I’m a hard worker. He knows I’m willing to do anything and everything to get the job done. And that’s what I’m going to do.”
He’s a leader of the pack: Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic said Buggs’ teammates at Alabama referenced him as the “energy-starter” and “not shy speaking up and being a leader when necessary.”
Dunbar also thinks highly of Buggs in that regard.
“He's a real excited guy,” Dunbar said. “He was one of the emotional leaders down in Alabama when I was there. You saw this year when he played.”
He’s a perceived value pick: Brugler gave Buggs a fourth-round grade and characterized his game as follows:
“Overall, Buggs might not have a dominant trait. But he competes with an efficient mix of athleticism, power and versatility.”
View photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 sixth round pick, DE, Isaiah Buggs