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Is Devin Bush the new-age linebacker the Giants need?

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Michigan’s Devin Bush could start day one as the Giants’ moneybacker

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Michigan Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports

It would be a surprise if the New York Giants did not add a pass rusher at some point (or at multiple points) in the 2019 NFL Draft. But what about the other parts of the defense? The Giants still have needs at every level, including linebacker.

Despite trading for Alec Ogletree a year ago, the Giants’ linebacking corps remains a disappointment. So could the team look to use one of their first round selections to shore up the middle of their defense? If so, they might want to follow the lead of the Indianapolis Colts (who selected defensive rookie of the year Darius Leonard) and find themselves an athletic off-ball linebacker who can keep up with modern offenses.

In that case they should take a close look at Devin Bush out of Michigan.

Measurables

Pros

  • Highly athletic off-ball linebacker.
  • Shows good instincts and fast processing. Usually takes an accurate first step.
  • Explosively powerful. Able to deliver a jolt to much larger linemen.
  • Comfortable playing in space and very rangy.
  • Able to cover most tight ends and running backs in man coverage.
  • Trusts his eyes and plays fast, but is also generally disciplined.

Cons

  • Size limits him disengaging from blockers if they are ready for him.
  • Active hands, but needs to be more effective using them as a rusher.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Devin Bush is a player who is set to benefit from this new era of play in the NFL. Bush’s mobility experience in numerous types of responsibilities against the run and upside as a 3rd down defender (blitz ability and potential in coverage) set him up for an impact role. Traditional reps thumping into interior gaps vs. OL takes Bush away from strengths, however. He should be utilized primarily in a gap penetration scheme with a strong DL.

- Kyle Crabbs (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

Devin Bush would be an excellent fit for the Giants’ linebacking unit.

He might be “undersized,” but he is undersized in the same kind of way that a Jack Russell Terrier is “undersized” -- it might be physically true, but he’s built like a coiled spring and there’s a stick of dynamite somewhere in the pedigree.

Bush is a perfect fit as a “new age” linebacker’s athleticism blurs the lines between linebacker and box safety. With the spread of Air Raid principles in the NFL, defenses need athletic players at every level of defense to better cover wide swaths of field, keep up with hyper-athletic offenses, and be better able to deal with the various conflicts into which offenses try to put defenders.

Devin Bush should be able to play any linebacker position, but he would be a natural “Moneybacker” in the Giants’ defense. There his frenetic play-style would help to keep the team from being gashed by running backs and tight ends in the passing game, while also helping out the pass rush as an athletic blitzer. It would also allow the Giants to move Ogletree to the strong-inside linebacker role.

There are some things that Bush will still need to improve at the NFL level, such as getting off of blockers and navigating the clutter near the line of scrimmage. He is disciplined and instinctive, but he can occasionally lose track of his teammates while tracking the ball and get blocked by his own players.

But despite those negatives and his size concerns, Bush should be a productive player very early in his career.