Ranking season continues on with training camps still at least a few weeks away from getting underway and ESPN.com is well into their positional series for 2020. On Thursday, ESPN.com released their rankings of the top 10 linebackers for the 2020 season and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush failed to make the cut.
According to ESPN.com, more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players were asked to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions. Voters gave their best 10 to 15 players at a position, then the results were compiled and the candidates ranked based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, interviews and research. Ties were broken by isolating the two-man matchup with additional voting and follow-up calls.
The list of top 10 linebackers for 2020 includes Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks at the top and he’s followed by Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Eric Kendricks of the Minnesota Vikings. Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts and Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints round out the top five linebackers for 2020.
While Bush didn’t make this year’s top 10, he was listed as a sixth honorable mention receiving votes behind
Jaylon Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, Roquan Smith of the Chicago Bears, Leighton Vander Esch of the Dallas Cowboys, Cory Littleton of the Los Angeles Rams and Joe Schobert of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here is the synopsis on Bush not making the top 10:
“This guy is coming for the list next year. He’s loaded with talent, he’s just still learning.” — AFC exec
Is it fair that Bush not included in the 2020 top 10? Absolutely it is, but like the offered tidbit states, he’s coming on quickly and thus should be expected to land in the 2021 top 10.
As a rookie in 2019, Bush registered 109 total tackles, which was a team-best. He also recorded two interceptions, forced one fumble and recovered four other fumbles, of which one of those he returned for a touchdown. On the heels of his productive rookie season, Bush received the “Joe Greene Great Performance Award,” given annually to the Steelers top rookie.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 4, 2020
Bush is expected to make a huge jump in his second NFL season and Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt explained recently in an interview why he’s excited to see that and why he thinks that will happen.
“Yeah, I think for Devin, it’s huge just to have a full offseason under his belt without all the rookie meetings and all the combine prep and everything like that,” Watt said of the second-year Bush. “He knows what he’s expecting going into camp. He knows the playbook; he knows the speed of the game. So, I’m excited just to get more communication out of him and to step up in a leadership role.”
Bush is the only 2019 rookie linebacker to earn any mention in this set of rankings so that speaks volumes. This year’s top 10 list of linebackers also includes four thirty-somethings as well.
In case you’re curious, below are this year’s top 10:
1. Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
2. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings
4. Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
5. Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints
6. Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
7. Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills
8. Jamie Collins Sr., Detroit Lions
9. C.J. Mosley, New York Jets
10. Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers