Much has been said about the Buccaneers need to address and replace Kwon Alexander in the up and coming NFL Draft with major implications that the team is leaning towards Devin White. Kwon played a major emotional role on the defense as the heart and soul of an exciting linebacking group.
Should the Buccaneers take a serious look at nabbing Alexanders replacement early in the draft, Michigan’s Devin Bush Jr. is a name to keep an eye on.
Devin Bush Jr’s Career
Bush wrapped up an excellent high school career in the state of Florida earning All-Florida honors twice prior to stepping foot on Michigan’s campus. Bush Jr. is the son of former Florida State Seminole and NFL player Devin Bush. Bush played a role on special teams as a Freshman before making massive strides in his sophomore season.
As a sophomore, Bush Jr. earned First Team All Big Ten honors and was a finalist for the Butkus award. Bush Jr. racked up 102 tackles (9.5 for a loss), 5 sacks and an interception.
As a Junior this past year, Bush Jr. led the Wolverines in tackles (90) and sacked the quarterback another 5 times.
Bush Jr. shows good field awareness and play recognition skills. Against the run you will regularly see Bush Jr. be patient and shoot the gap at the right moment. Bush Jr. regularly get’s into the backfield against the run and has very good lateral quickness and change of direction skills when the play reaches the second level against him. Uses his shorter frame incredibly well to bend and maneuver about the line of scrimmage. Bush Jr. tested out incredibly well speed wise and game footage backs that speed up well. Bush Jr.’s ability to take on a running back coming out of the backfield to run a route is top notch in this class for linebackers. Shows explosive lower half when jolting into a running back to make a stop.
Undersized by traditional standards at 5’11” and 235 lbs. Doesn’t have very good arm length and will get held up by better lineman when able to get into his body. Bush Jr. isn’t good at getting off blocks and disengaging, showing a tendency to work underneath the block rather than fighting through it with his explosive lower half. Bush Jr. has had some poor tendencies as to when to shoot vs. when to let the play come to him, thus taking him out of some plays earlier than desired.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
With Kwon Alexander gone the team needs another inside linebacker. Devin Bush Jr. plays with great intensity and flies around the field, something both fans and coaches loved about Kwon. Lavonte David isn’t getting any younger and bringing in another youthful player like Kwon in Bush Jr. could help bridge the potential gap that would be left behind in the near future when David eventually is out of Tampa Bay.
Will It Happen?
Quite possibly with a trade down. Bush Jr. is not a top 5 player in this 2019 NFL Draft but he very well may be a top 10 talent overall and one that fits a need here in Tampa under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowle’s defense. The Buccaneers best option in this draft is to trade down, accrue some extra draft picks and fill more holes with young talent. Devin Bush Jr. is a great potential trade down target should this idea come to fruition.