Re-Visit: Devin Bush Review

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Editor’s Note: Leading up to the draft we’re going to re-visit some of our reviews to get some draft crush names fresh in your minds.

When you think of a Steve Spagnuolo defense what immediately comes to your mind? Aggressive. At least for me, that’s what I see in my minds eye. He’s going to bring a defense that blitzes and tries to confuse the offense by bringing many defenders up to the line of scrimmage and making the offensive line figure out who is really coming. In his recent defenses, he hasn’t had the Mike linebacker that truly fits what he’s looking to do, and that doesn’t change with Anthony Hitchens. He’s a downhill guy, at his best, with limited coverage and block shedding ability. Is it possible that the Chiefs can draft his eventual replacement in 2019?

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Some of you may know, but I am a Michigan fan. Lived there for most of my life and grew up bleeding Maize and Blue. I’ve watched every football game they’ve played for as long as I can remember. I say this with absolutely no bias whatsoever, the Chiefs should, if possible, draft Devin Bush. I have made no attempt to hide my feelings about this pick. He could be the most explosive linebacker in the draft and if he falls far enough, the Chiefs should take a long hard look at a player that would fit Spags defense very, very well. With the combine coming up, there is a good chance he improves his draft stock, which I think is probable. But his projection as of now is a late first round, early second round pick.

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Now I know there’s going to be some push back and I’m okay with that. The biggest issue with Bush is that he’s 5’11 and doesn’t possess the length to shed second level blocks. But he makes up for that with his willingness to engage blocks and get into gaps quickly. He finds ways to get around blocks in space, but it can come at the cost of attack angle. He also is average when it comes to man to man coverage, having to turn around and keep up with a running back or tight end. I’ll show you something that could help ease your worries about his strength as well…

And that’s the list of his true weaknesses, all can be helped except his length. He can learn better ways to shed blocks and how to cover when trailing a receiver. All that being said, Bush’s strengths far outweigh his weaknesses and his greatest strength is his speed, something that only one of the Chiefs linebackers possesses.

Bush has the sideline to sideline speed required to be a Mike linebacker in the NFL and shows it here. After the read-option fake by the offense, he takes off. His first step after making his decision is truly explosive and his ability to close is remarkable. He gets to the running back and delivers a crushing hit, throwing the back off his feet.

Looking at Hitchens, I don’t believe he will ever have the speed necessary to be an every down Mike linebacker. In Dallas he had Sean Lee and Jaylen Smith to help on passing downs and to tell him where he needed to be. Bush is the leader of the defense he’s on, and his speed to get downhill, into opening run gaps, and into the flat make him a true Mike linebacker. His explosive first step is extremely valuable in this because it helps his acceleration. In other words his lateral mobility is exceptional.

Bush also possesses something that helped Hitchens come to Kansas City, he delivers big hits. Although, Hitchens didn’t show a lot of promise in the area of living up to his nickname the “hitman”, Bush has the motor and speed to consistently deliver big hits on a game to game basis.Not only can he deliver big hits to lateral moving players, but he isn’t afraid to meet a running back running downhill and prevent any sort of yardage gain. He has a lot of stopping power.

It’s fourth and one and like most teams on every level of football, the offense is going to run the ball. Bush identifies the gap and isn’t going to be denied the fourth down stop. He gets into the gap and executes a perfect form tackle, and he does it with force, preventing the back to gain and yards after contact and drives him back, forcing the turnover in downs.

When Bush sees something, he doesn’t hesitate, he goes for it and thanks to his high football IQ he is right most of the time. Everyone gets burned from time to time, and after working with NFL personnel he is bound to get even better at diagnosing plays. The more impressive part to me is that he isn’t afraid to get run over, most likely because he doesn’t get run over much. He is the one delivering big hits; some have expressed worry that he doesn’t always wrap up, but on plays like this, he does and makes the back pay.

As most Chiefs fans will know, Hitchens found it difficult to read offenses last year and it showed on tape with hesitation. He was very indecisive and that can be remedied by better coaching which he should receive in 2019. But there’s no telling if he can really command the defense and tell others where they need to be. Bush on the other hand has been in charge of the defense at Michigan since he started playing there. He has been playing in a 4-3 his entire college career and can make pre snap reads. This includes zone coverage.

Bush is closer to the line of scrimmage than he normally would be, Michigan’s Don Brown disguised his blitzes well and made the offense guess where the blitz was coming from. At the snap Bush gets into his shallow zone and reads the quarterback’s eyes. He’s quick enough to get his hand in the passing lane to deflect the throw. It goes to a different receiver, but that’s not his fault.

Coverage is going to be a work in progress for both Hitchens and Bush, but Bush has the lateral quickness and movement to get better. Bush has tons of upside and everything I’ve showed you is a great reason to draft him high but one of the biggest reasons is his blitzing ability. He totaled 10 sacks the last two seasons and consistently gets pressure on the quarterback.

Bush is great in many aspects of football but his ability to get after the quarterback is a trait that should get him drafted in the first round. Bush gets up to the line of scrimmage after the offensive shift and takes off on the snap. The delay in the showing of the blitz forces the running back to take on Bush. Unfortunate for the back; Bush’s speed and bend are not unlike an edge rusher and he quickly gets under the back recording the sack.

In Spags defense, Bush would be a great asset in pass defense and blitzing. Spags likes to blitz, he’s an aggressive defensive coach and would love to have the skill set if Bush. I fully expect Hitchens to be the starting Mike linebacker, but the addition of Bush would allow Hitch to rest in passing situations and provide the Chiefs defense with another pass rush element. The true weakness of the Chiefs defense in 2018 were the two inside linebackers. Rags and Hitchens were not a great duo, but I believe that allowing Hitchens plays off will give the Chiefs a peak at the player that was in Dallas.

It may not be a popular opinion but the Chiefs need to find the future at Mike linebacker whether they like it or not. Hitchens has a chance to be a better player in the 4-3 this coming season, but he is not going to all of a sudden lead the defense by diagnosing plays and getting people in the right position. Bush has a real shot at doing just that, with the added bonuses of pass rush potential and commanding the defense.

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There are doubts about Bush that I have stated already, but I do believe that he makes up for them in everything else he provides a defense. The most common positions being talked about are safety and cornerback for the Chiefs at 29, but if Bush falls into the 20’s on draft day, they should go after him. Take a chance on him, his motor won’t let him fail.

Feel free to comment down below with any and all opinions, I welcome all sides of the draft conversation. Any film suggestions as well!

From the Peanut Gallery


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Berserker
Berserker

I’m starting to think that a high-end MLB might be this team’s position of greatest need.

When I think of Hitchens playing the middle of a 4-3, and I think of all the support he’ll need to compensate for his deficiencies….
another good-excellent safety to help with coverage when Mathieu is occupied elsewhere,
another DT who can help keep blockers off him (or mis-use Chris Jones for that role),
a high-end edge rusher who can pull blockers out of the MLB’s blitz lanes,
outside CBs who can tackle RBs in case Hitchens can’t get to the sideline fast enough….

I look at ^ all that, everything that might be needed to make up for a sub-par MLB, and I think…instead of all that, why not just get a better MLB?

tsv0728
tsv0728

I agree that the biggest hole on this defense is MLB. It is a position that gets downplayed around here a bit because we’ve been sporting a 3-4 for so long, and had great DJ for a big part of that time. The role of the MLB is much too critical to leave to an average player, and I’m not convinced that Hitch even qualifies as that. Outside of all of his other average or below traits, he is just too slow. Both in how he moves and how he read/reacts. He did play better for Dallas when he was in that role, but he was SO bad last year, that I don’t know which plot point to believe. The money puts Veach in a weird place, as he is a damned expensive 2 down SAM (and probably not a very good one, as he can’t shed for shit). Still, can’t GM to sunk costs, we need a better SAM.

Leaf
Leaf

I’ve been saying this for years now. But I’ve come to terms that is likely to be ignored yet again.

Berserker
Berserker

Well, we haven’t had a MLB in years. We’ve had ILBs.

Seriously though, the MLB’s job is different. I’ve seen a few fans hoping, of course, that it’s easier than a WILB’s job. But I just don’t see any way that could be true.

Unless it’s some truly bizarrely innovative version of a 4-3, the MLB is going to be on an island by himself right in the middle of the field, where at least the WILB had a SILB (or a safety playing SILB) to run interference for him. And a MLB is going to be playing behind a Dline that is mostly trying to get upfield, instead of three big defensive tackles who spend a lot of their time two-gapping.

Urlacher, Lewis, Brooks, Kuechly….. those are 4-3 MLBs. I just don’t see anybody on this roster right now, Hitchens or otherwise, even coming close to doing the kinds of things those guys do.

Leaf
Leaf

True they require different traits. But my point is that we have been soft in the middle for years and changing schemes didn’t suddenly make it not soft.

Berserker
Berserker

Yeah, it’s been a little while since DJ was Super DJ.

Scouting Report: LB Devin Bush – Arrowhead Guys

[…] Arrowhead Guys review Michigan LB Devin Bush, who Dan fell madly deeply in love with during his review here, and release their “Live-Reaction” Scouting Report. Tony and Dave saw some very […]

RamX21
RamX21

I like Bush, not a bad player. I think Vosean Joseph does everything Bush does, but a little better. More explosive, more decisive, better in coverage, hits just as hard, if not harder.

go_saleaumua
go_saleaumua

And can be had a round or round & 1/2 cheaper.

Same for D. Long Jr….

I would take either of them. Or Bush. Whichever we can get!

WestonJamesKC
WestonJamesKC

I’m not sure if this is the same poster who started me on watching Devin’s tape, but I saw a multifaceted linebacker who can do pretty much everything. There was nothing he did poorly. And that is why I think he is a high first-round pick.

If he falls because of his size, I would snatch him without a second thought.

GermanChief
GermanChief

Good analysis. I’m on board.

Berserker
Berserker

I think Bush is a boom or bust player. If he’s forced into a generic system role, then he probably won’t do well. But if he’s in a role that plays to his strengths, then I think he could be a playmaker at LB, which is something we haven’t had for a while.

I hope Spags has a role in mind for him, and I hope we draft him.

Leaf
Leaf

So we are going for a tiered effect then?

sydenham
sydenham

I like this on principle: strength down the middle, DTs + Mike + safeties. Jones and Nnadi (and Hamilton/XWilliams – Bailey might be a cap casualty but I like him too) check, Hitchins as the Mike not checked for me, safeties well that’s a whole other article but unchecked for me. Bush could be the answer. BTW how big is Kuechley?

sydenham
sydenham

I checked: Kuechley 6’3 238lbs, Bobby Wagner 6’ 245lbs.

Panzer85
Panzer85

So you’re saying the Bush could be the Tyreek Hill of our defense?

chief_curmudgeon
chief_curmudgeon

I like him a lot. I also want to go BPA. Problem is: we will be in nickel about 70% of the time (2 LB).
Hitchens will be on the field all downs (money) and DOD will be the other guy. With that knowledge, I would rather go CB or DE in the 1st.

We could look at Hitch more as a sunk cost (which would probably be smart?) and say he is the 3rd LB and grab Bush in the 1st if he is the BPA.

tsv0728
tsv0728

Certainly possible with a change in DC/Scheme. If Spags says Hitch can’t do what needs doing from the MLB spot, Veach will have to find him someone who can. Hopefully Spags can work with what he has without begging for a certain position in the draft. We all know Veach is more than happy to jump up the board for a project.

ElPasoJason
ElPasoJason

I’m on board. This could be a valuable addition if they pull the trigger.

01lowbird

I do question his size, Im sure Im not the only one but he looks like a player

RDD India
RDD India

Absolutely great article IHW19!
Now how’s Devin in covering TEs? Can he cover Cook / broken gronk?

Lars
Lars

Looks like a good player, lets see how he does at the combine. If the studliest DBs are gone by our pick, I would see how he compares to the second tier DBs.

RDD India
RDD India

I like Devin Bush, but may be in 3rd round. Now, can we trade for Hunt? I heard the team he’s on has a stacked RB roster.

WestonJamesKC
WestonJamesKC

No way he drops that far. He is way too talented. Ever hear the trope of players playing faster than their timed speed? Devin plays bigger than his size. He is good.

Team Player
Team Player

What if I said I see him as a Will?

Anthony Stratton

I can see it from the athleticism standpoint, but think it would nullify his greatest strengths.

RDD India
RDD India

He’s a pass rusher ain’t he?

Anthony Stratton

A lil bit. But he’s at his best moving forward in general.

RDD India
RDD India

LOL and not beat around the bush.

Anthony Stratton

Bush def splits the gap.

TRChiefFan
TRChiefFan

Rec for Monty Python reference

venturachief
venturachief

So many bush comments could be made but it’s just too easy.

The problem with this draft class is that it appears very weak at LB and CB. So which is the priority? Personally, I think it’s CB. If one of the top CB’s is available in the 1st, I think they need to go that route. Perhaps LB can be improved via FA since they can be had cheaper than CB’s. Or at least they usually are; unless Veach is doling out the $$.

Anthony Stratton

I think LB “should” be the priority, but Hitchen’s contract means he’s not getting benched, so for me its CB because there’s more opportunities for playing time.

tsv0728
tsv0728

Hitch can probably work better at SAM than MLB, so it wouldn’t be a total loss to have a new MLB. Especially since we don’t really have a starting SAM on the roster at the moment (Neimann maybe?). Bush is awfully small for the position, but he has the right athletic traits and aggression. I wouldn’t spend a bunch of capitol moving up, but if he is there and Spags/Veach like him, I’m ok with it.

Anthony Stratton

I like Ford at SAM tbh. Houston at weak DE, Speaks at strong DE with Ford lined up outside of him? Scary.

tsv0728
tsv0728

Too much $$ for a SAM. You can’t pay a guy pass rusher money if he isn’t rushing the passer 80+% of the time. If the defense were designed around making that happen, I could maybe be convinced. Can Ford learn a new job like that to be really effective year 1? How do you fill the hole Ford is leaving in the zone consistently? Speaks? lol. I just don’t think they have the right personnel to have Ford consistently blitz from the SAM. Only about a month left to start making some serious roster decisions. Interesting news incoming no doubt, which should help us understand a bit more how Spags envisions this defense.

WestonJamesKC
WestonJamesKC

We need a true MLB. I don’t feel comfortable with any of our current backers filling that role. I’ve seen DOD’s name thrown around, and I just don’t know.

Both are positions of need.