ESPN .com has an interesting post up on Thursday concerning several over/under numbers related to the 2019 NFL regular season and all 32 teams. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the current over/under number for total tackles for rookie inside linebacker Devin Bush is the focal point and according to odds provided to ESPN by Caesars Sportsbook, that line is 86.5.
Commenting on that over/under number for Bush was Jeremy Fowler, who covers the Steelers for ESPN and he let it be known that he would take the over.
Over. This is hardly a lay-up in a defense that has three capable inside linebackers in the mix. Veteran Vince Williams and free-agent addition Mark Barron will have roles. But the stage is set for Bush to become an every-down player, and by the looks of his spring workouts, he’s eager to meet that challenge. Plus, Williams and Ryan Shazier each surpassed that over/under in 2017. The defense is built on generating pressure, which opens tackling lanes for Bush up the middle.
It’s hard to argue with Fowler’s prediction and especially when it looks more and more like Bush has a great chance of opening his rookie season as the Steelers starter at one of the two inside linebacker positions.
Back in 2014, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier opened his rookie season as a starter and he went on to record 36 total tackles. Shazier, however only managed to play 258 total defensive snaps during his rookie season due to knee and ankle injuries. In total he played in just 9 of 16 regular season games in 2014.
Back in 2001, then-rookie Steelers inside linebacker Kendrell Bell found himself as a Week 1 starter and he finished the season with 83 total tackles. Bell also had 9 sacks during his rookie season that culminated in him being voted the Rookie Defensive Player of the Year.
Bush’s best season at Michigan when it came to total tackles was his sophomore 2017 year. He was credited with 101 total tackles that season in 13 games played. Last season, his final one at Michigan, Bush recorded 78 total tackles in 12 games.
Once again, should Bush ultimately be the Steelers Week 1 starter, and assuming he can stay healthy throughout his rookie season, he should have a great shot at topping 86.5 in total tackles in 2019.
What say yinz? Are you betting the over or under as we sit here in late June?