It was an up and down season for Steelers 2019 first-round pick, Devin Bush. Here’s why the arrow is pointing up for the young linebacker.
Steelers fans everywhere were ecstatic that Pittsburgh was able to land Devin Bush in the 2019 NFL Draft. In a very un-Colbert like move, the Steelers traded up in the first round for the first time since drafting Santonio Holmes back in 2006.
Though it cost Pittsburgh their 2019 1st and 2nd round picks in addition to a 3rd round draft choice in 2020. They were able to land a linebacker they believe was a blue-chip player in last year’s draft class.
Bush certainly flashed at times as a rookie. He created 6 defensive takeaways (2 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries) in addition to scoring a defensive touchdown back in Week 6 against the Chargers. However, even with all of the splash, there are certainly things the young linebacker needs to work on.
Bush was inconsistent at times, and would too often take a false step at the beginning of the play. As a result, he was often out of position in pass coverage. According to Pro Football Reference, Bush gave up 5 touchdowns in coverage this season and allowed a 97.4 passer rating when targeted.
This is something that the athletic, young linebacker will learn to correct in time. When judging his rookie season, however, it’s important that we don’t come down too hard on his performance. Bush was one of the youngest relevant players in the NFL this season. Younger than 21 and a half years old by the season’s end, here is how he compares to some other rookie linebackers to come out in recent years:
Anyone who wants to judge #Steelers LB Devin Bush after just one season, step back and consider this. By the Season’s end of their rookie years, here’s how old each of these linebackers was:
Darius Leonard: 23.4
Leighton Vander Esch: 22.8
Fred Warner: 22.1
Devin Bush: 21.4
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) January 10, 2020
While Darius Leonard, Leighton Vander Esch, and Fred Warner were all noticeably more consistent in their rookie seasons, it’s important to note just how young Bush was this year. In fact, During his 3rd NFL season, he will be the same age that Darius Leonard was as a rookie.
Playing Mack linebacker in Keith Butler’s diverse defensive scheme is not easy, and we don’t often see players that will come in and start from day one. While Bush was forced into action from the gate, we could see the signs of a good player in the making.
The former Michigan product showed steady improvement in his play recognition and pass coverage ability as the season progressed, and we can expect him to take a leap forward in 2020 with one season of NFL football under his belt.
It’s way too early to judge Devin Bush based on one season as a 21-year old football player. This kid has a lot of room to grow, and he is only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.