For teams in need of an inside linebacker, the 2019 NFL Draft was all about one name, and two players: Devin, as in LSU superstar Devin White, and athletic Michigan product Devin Bush. Indeed, the two elite prospects went quickly once the draft actually started.
White, the top prospect through the pre-draft process, went fifth overall to Tampa Bay. And after swinging a trade to move up 10 picks, the Pittsburgh Steelers concluded the top 10 by taking Bush, a player who ascended from late first status to elite with an incredibly athletic Combine performance.
The two players were destined to be linked together, sharing the same name, position, and incredible upside as athletic captains and stars of an NFL defense. Bush spoke about White during an OTA media session Wednesday.
“Me and D-White have been together for awhile. We came out of high school same recruiting class, came out of college, same draft class. We’ve got a good relationship,” Bush said. “Haven’t caught up to him this offseason because of everything I was going through, but I definitely watched him during the year while I was out [with injury], and I thought he had a phenomenal year last year of course, winning the Super Bowl.”
Both players quickly became stars for their new teams. Bush as a rookie made over 100 tackles, recovered four fumbles, forced a fumble, and intercepted two passes. He cemented himself as a captain of the team’s defense, earning the “green dot” in the middle of the field. Only a torn ACL five games in to last season slowed his momentum and trajectory.
It was Bush, who finished third in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting for their draft class. But it is White who has the Super Bowl ring, as one of the leaders of the Buccaneers’ defense that defeated Kansas City in this year’s game. As a rookie, White had 91 tackles, matched Bush with four fumble recoveries, forced three more, intercepted a pass, and had two defensive touchdowns. In his 2020 follow-up, White hit 140 tackles, with a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
The two are both so far outstanding picks for their franchises, and remain linked in a connection that started before they even began their collegiate careers. With Bush back and healthy and White focused on a Super Bowl repeat, each are expected to continue to state their cases as some of the best in the NFL this fall.
“I think he’s on his way to being one of those guys that is just going to be a terror as long as he wants to play,” bush said.