The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 regular season will get underway in a little more than a week and that first game against the New England Patriots figures to include rookie inside linebacker Devin Bush starting. If that winds up happening and Bush ultimately plays a large percentage of the defensive snaps, he should be considered a legitimate candidate to win the annual NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
On Wednesday, 30 NFL Network analysts provided their predictions on the individual award winners and playoff teams for the 2019 NFL season and Bush was the consensus choice of the group to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Bush received 12 of the 30 possible votes and the analysts who voted for him were Judy Battista, Tom Blair, Jeffri Chadiha, Terrell Davis, James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steve Mariucci, Shaun O’Hara, Kevin Patra, Adam Rank, Adam Schein, and Jim Trotter.
Below is Schein’s reason for voting for Bush:
Devin Bush was put on this earth to play middle linebacker for the Steelers. He’s a stud. He’s a leader. He’s a tackling machine. Pittsburgh is going to love him, and the Michigan product will dominate the way Darius Leonard did for the Colts last year.
Last season, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, who was selected 36th overall and in the second-round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of South Carolina State, won the AP Defensive Rookie Player of the Year award after registering a league-high 163 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 8 passes defensed in the 15 games he played in and started. 7 of Leonard’s 12 total tackles for losses were sacks.
Bush, who was selected 10th overall by the Steelers in this year’s draft following a trade up with the Denver Broncos, registered 11 total tackles in his preseason debut several weeks ago. The Michigan product sat the team’s second preseason game with a shoulder injury but played in the third exhibition contest this past Sunday night and registered one tackle in his limited playing time. Bush is expected to play some in the Steelers Thursday night preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers and the start the team’s regular season opener against the Patriots.
Linebacker Kendrell Bell was the last Steelers player to win the annual AP Defensive Rookie Player of the Year award and that happened way back in 2001. While Bell only registered 82 total tackles in his rookie season, that included him starting all 16 regular season games, he did have 9 sacks that year.
Panthers defensive end Brian Burns finished behind Bush in the NFL Network analysts voting for Defensive Rookie of the Year with six votes. Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White, who was drafted five spots ahead of Bush this year at fifth overall, only received three votes.