PFF expects big improvements from Steelers LB Devin Bush in 2020

Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images /

The Steelers found a linebacker with extreme physical tools in 2019. Here’s why Pro Football Focus believes Devin Bush could take a big leap forward in year two.

It’s not hard to predict that a 21-year old linebacker will improve in his second sesaon – that should be a given. But when it comes to Devin Bush, Steelers fans share some very high hopes for his future.

However, they are far from the only ones taking notice of his upside. Pro Football Focus’s Ben Linsey recently wrote an article on why we should expect improvements from 2019 first-round linebackers Devin Bush and Devin White in 2020. The evidence is pretty compelling.

For starters, there is a lot of evidence that shows how rookie production increases after their first sesaon in the league. Here’s a chart that shows the curve:

But a lack of production was hardly an issue for Bush in the first place. As a rookie, Bush managed 109 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, 4 pass defenses, 1 forced fumble, 4 fumble recoveries, and a defensive touchdown. Evidence suggests that those numbers could increase in his second sesaon.

However, one of the main reasons why Linsey thinks Bush could take a big leap forward is because of his extreme athletic traits. Bush ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine last year and exploded with a 40.5” vertical and 124” broad jump. In addition, he tested well in both the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

Bush’s raw athleticism puts him above 97 percent of NFL linebackers with an electrifying SPARQ score of 142.9 (even higher than Devin White’s 138.5 SPARQ). Athleticism allows a player to make up for minor errors or false steps, and Bush has tons of it.

In addition, Linsey believes that Bush will improve in his coverage responsibilities. Here’s a look at how he fared in 2019, according to PFF statistics:

Bush’s responsibilities in coverage increased exponentially from his final season at Michigan to his first season with the Steelers. With more experience under his belt, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t improve his feel for zone coverage.

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Overall, there are dozens of reasons two believe that Devin Bush could be the next great player for the Steelers, and he flashes all the upside we like to see. If he can become a bit more consistent in year two, we could see a much-improved player.