Devin Bush isn’t the biggest man on the football field. Standing at 5’11” tall and weighing 234 pounds, Bush finds himself literally looking up at many of his defensive teammates while he is in the midst of a veteran defense primed for a step forward in 2019. Just don’t think Bush is intimidated as he looks to start the season as the starting ILB for Keith Butler’s defense.
Coming into a new team can be a challenge, but Bush has handled himself as well as anyone can expect throughout Organized Team Activities (OTAs). With no pads on, Bush is flying around the football field showing off his 4.4 40-yard dash speed, and the athleticism which the Steelers coveted to trade up and draft him with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
But again, this is football in shorts, as Mike Tomlin calls it. Nonetheless, there is still something which can be gleaned from these workouts. Just ask Bush’s teammates.
“He’s not the biggest guy, but he definitely walks with a presence, walks with a purpose,” T.J. Watt told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler of Bush. “He’s taken on a good role in knowing all the plays and being able to call some plays for us.”
Bush’s speed has been probably the most notable aspect of his game, at least according to Watt.
“He’s quicker than snot,” Watt said. “He’s been flying around and making a lot of good plays.”
“He’s been flying around, especially seeing him in the seven shots period. He’s high intensity, doing a good job covering people,” Mason Rudolph said. “You can see his athleticism, and he’s learning quick.”
All high praise for the team’s prized draft pick, but let’s not kid ourselves. The true test for Devin Bush will not be in OTAs, not mandatory minicamp this week, but when the team puts the pads on in late July/early August for training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.
“He showed really quickly he’s going to be able to fit in well with the defense with that group of guys,” Vance McDonald said. “When you look at him, you don’t expect him to be as quick or as agile as he is. There’s a couple of things he needs to work on: being more vocal, because of the role Coach Tomlin wants him to fit into quickly, and the expectation of him doing that. But that’s still such a young thing. You never want to overstep, especially when the pressure is on. I think that will come, especially in Latrobe as he gets the pads on.”
Training camp has been the make or break moment for several draft picks in years past, but with Bush’s draft status, and his pedigree, it seems like a good chance he will step up and show out more than shy away and be a disappointment. Then again, only time will tell how Bush will handle the rigors of NFL life in a few months.
When football in shorts ends, and padded practices begin, somewhere in that mix will be when the Steelers will truly see what they have in Devin Bush. As for me, I can’t wait to see No. 55 flying around the football field.