It’s fair to say Brian Baldinger is a big fan of Devin Bush. So much so he believes Bush will transform the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense to where it was when Ryan Shazier was on the field.
“They have been missing that guy in the middle ever since Ryan Shazier had that horrible injury,” Baldinger recently said on NFL Network. “But [Bush] is a sideline to sideline player, he was all over the field in the preseason game against Tampa. They just haven’t had a player who can run 4.4 in the 40 in the middle like that who can cover so much ground and make so many plays. He’s going to be a Hoover vacuum cleaner, cleaning up tackles for the Steelers.”
Bush’s range was on display throughout the preseason, even in the finale against the Carolina Panthers. Watch him defend this zone run, tracking down RB Cameron Artis-Payne for a short gain.
Last year? That back is turning the corner and turning it into a sizable gain. Not the case in 2019 with #55 out there. And he’ll play a lot, perhaps more than any other ILB. In the preseason, he was the only linebacker to play in base, nickel, and dime packages.
Baldinger expanded on that and said Bush will help create turnovers too.
“And I think he’s going to help take the ball away. They only had 15 takeaways a year ago but I think that’s a number you could see rise this year. As I think the defense is going to get better because when your middle linebacker can run as fast as Devin Bush, your whole defense looks a lot faster.”
Taking the football away is something we’ve repeatedly preached during the offseason. Bush can be that difference maker in the middle. Though his college stats aren’t impressive in creating turnovers, the Steelers’ scheme allows linebackers to take the ball away. Shazier had just one INT at Ohio State. He picked off seven in 41 starts, six coming in 2016-2017.
Check out all of Baldinger’s thoughts on the Steelers, and why they’ll be competitive this year, below.