Based on all that’s transpired this past offseason, it shouldn’t come as a shock if Pittsburgh Steelers rookie inside linebacker Devin Bush, the team’s first-round selection this year out of Michigan, winds up being a starter right out of the chute in the Week 1 road opener against the New England Patriots. In fact, it will likely be more of a shock if Bush isn’t ultimately a Week 1 starter at this point. Assuming Bush is the team’s Week 1 starter, it certainly will help his chances of winning the annual Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote about those chances Monday morning.
Zierlein posted his top eight candidates to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award for the 2019 NFL season on Monday and he currently has Bush fifth-overall on that list. Here is what Zierlein wrote about Bush and his chances of winning the 2019 DROY award.
While Devin White might be my favorite linebacker among the candidates to win this award, it’s hard to argue that Bush isn’t in a great position to make an early impact in a variety of categories for the Steelers. In college, Bush didn’t post the same type of tackle production as White, but the No. 10 overall pick is just as fast, and of the two, Bush has arguably better instincts. Darius Leonard’s sack totals (seven) and ball production in coverage (eight passes defensed, two interceptions) helped push him over the top as the DROY last season, and Bush flashed the same talent in those areas while at Michigan.
That’s a reasonable and well thought out statement by Zierlein Bush’s DROY chances and it’s hard to find much fault in any of it. While Bush is ranked fifth-overall on Zierlein’s list, at least he is indeed the second-rated inside linebacker behind only Devin White of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As Zierlein smartly pointed out on Monday, from 2004 to 2012, an inside linebacker won the DROY award six times. Additionally, inside linebacker Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts won the award just last season. The last Steelers player to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award was Kendrell Bell in 2001-2002 after he registered 83 total tackles, 9 sacks and a forced fumble. Can Bush at least come close to equaling Bell’s 2001 stat line in 2019? If he stays healthy and if he indeed winds up being a Week 1 starter, he certainly should be able to. Bush, however, might need to register at least 100 total tackles to give himself a better shot at winning the award. After all, last year Leonard registered 163 total tackles to go along with 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.
Currently, MyBookie.ag has Bush listed at +700 odds to win the 2019 Rookie Defensive Player of the Year Award and those are the same odds that White currently has on the betting website. Fellow rookies Nick Bosa (+400) and Quinnen Williams (+500) are currently the top two favorites to win the award, according to My Bookie odds.
In somewhat related news, Zierlein did not list any Steelers in his top 10 candidates to take home the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. That’s not a huge shock, however.