About the only knock on Devin Bush coming out of Michigan was a lack of size. Could 5’11, 234 hold up in the NFL? An impressive rookie season likely answered that question but ILBs coach Jerry Olsavsky hammered home the point that Bush’s size isn’t a concern.
“I think if we look at last year and he had a pick on a 6’8 guy,” he told reporters via a Monday Zoom call. “He ran down the field on the guy from Cincinnati and got the ball out for Minkah. I think he does really well in pass coverage…he’s a great player. You know, he could jump 40 inches so that covers a lot of area. He could fill up the space and that’s what I try to get them to do is say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing, okay? We’re going to maximize your talent.'”
Olsavsky is referring to Bush’s incredible interception on Ravens’ TE Nick Boyle (who is *only* 6’4, for the record), taking the ball away from him as the two went to the ground.
Though he didn’t create a ton of splash at Michigan, he’s proven to be a playmaker in the NFL. As a rookie, he recorded four pass breakups, recovered four fumbles, intercepted two throws, forced one fumble, and had one sack. When the ball is snapped, no one cares about height. Only your ability. He showed a combination of rare athletic traits with a good football IQ, Olsavsky talking about his professionalism in the interview.
Most importantly, he was a quicker learner who fixed his mistakes. Making the comparison is a little difficult to do since Ryan Shazier was injured for much of his first year but Bush is more developed heading into Year 2 than Shazier was.
To survive at linebacker today, speed and range are more important than just size. Being under six foot didn’t limit Bush last season and it won’t this year either. As he grows in other areas of the game, being a better communicator for example, he’ll become the team’s three-down linebacker they envisioned when they traded up to draft him 10th overall.