As rookies around the NFL have made headlines, Pittsburgh Steelers first-rounder Devin Bush deserves more credit for his effort so far.
Week Nine of the 2019-20 NFL season is here, and through the first eight weeks, we have certainly seen some incredible performances from the 2019 rookie class. On Thursday night’s matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, two of the most highly-touted members of that class were on display. Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa, the first two picks of the 2019 NFL Draft, have made a ton of headlines for their play so far this season. Bosa, in particular, has gotten a ton of recent buzz and is seen as the clear-cut leader for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. With all the attention guys like Bosa are getting from the national media, it’s overshadowed other stellar rookies, such as Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush.
Lost in Bosa’s recent three-sack performance and the fireworks coming from guys like Murray or Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew has been the way Bush has come in and transformed the Steelers defense. Taking over a linebacking unit that has struggled since Ryan Shazier‘s devastating injury, Bush has been fantastic, emerging as a leader almost immediately.
The statistics are impressive, with 59 tackles and two sacks, Bush always seems to be around the ball. Not to mention, the way he’s been able to force turnovers is truly special. With four fumble recoveries and two interceptions already this year, he has shown a talent for taking advantage of sloppy offenses.
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Bush’s impact goes beyond the statistics, however, as it’s his mindset that has been the real asset. For years the Steelers have been too passive on defense, lacking a sense of urgency and playing without real aggression. Pittsburgh made a statement when trading up to land Bush, and he has rewarded them by coming in and changing the whole defensive culture. Players have finally started to shine, and that’s thanks to the rookie’s influence. Linebackers are typically seen as the leaders of defenses, and Bush certainly fits that description.
As rookies around the NFL continue to make waves, let’s not forget just how good Devin Bush has been as the centerpiece of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Sure, Bosa makes the splash plays, and the offensive guys grab all the headlines, but Bush may be the only player making a consistent impact week-to-week with almost no drop-off.
When listening to all the rookie noise, don’t overlook just how stellar Bush has been.