Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush may be long gone when the Ravens pick at No. 22.
Many mock drafts have Bush going in the top 20. Some mocks project him landing in the top 10. General Manager Eric DeCosta said he expects Bush off the board before the Ravens are on the clock.
However, a few analysts like Charles Davis of NFL Network think Bush will still be available at No. 22. If that’s the case, would the Ravens take Bush after losing four-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley to the New York Jets in free agency?
It’s something they would likely consider. Bush could be the kind of plug-and-play linebacker that Mosley was – an immediate starter who elevated the defense from Day 1.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has been extremely high on Bush throughout the draft process.
“He’s one of the top players in this draft,” Kiper said during a March conference call. “You could argue he’s one of 10 best players this year.
Devin White of LSU and Bush are considered the top two inside linebacker prospects, and both did well at the Combine. Bush answered questions about his speed at the NFL Combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.43 seconds. That’s moving for a 5-foot-11, 234-pound linebacker. White (4.42) was the only linebacker who ran faster. Obviously, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh can also talk to his brother, Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, for the inside scoop on Bush.
If you watched the Wolverines over the past two seasons, you saw a linebacker in Bush who was often near the football. He had 182 tackles and 10 sacks over the past two seasons, and was the 2018 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. NFL scouts view Bush not only as a run defender, but as an effective pass defender and blitzer.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has Bush ranked No. 9 in his top-50 prospects.
“Bush is a little undersized for his position, but he makes up for it with instinct, twitch, and production,” Jeremiah said. “He’s excellent as a zone dropper against the pass – quick to key routes and get a jump on the ball. In man coverage, he has the speed to run with tight ends and running backs but he gets a little too grabby down the field. He is an excellent blitzer, using a dip/rip move to defeat running backs. Bush really excels in the running game.”
Plugging Bush into the Ravens’ inside linebacker position with Patrick Onwuasor and Kenny Young would give them a young, athletic rotation while adding speed to the defense. The Ravens’ first priority on defense is to shut down the opponent’s running game. When Bush meets a running back with the football, the running back often stops running.
Bush’s skillset would fit almost any defense, and at least a half-dozen teams could be a landing spot for him. If Bush falls past No. 15, maybe Ravens fans can start thinking about him as possibility. At the Combine, Bush promised that whichever team drafted him would not regret it.
“What you see on tape is real,” Bush said. “That’s what you’re going to get 100 percent of the time and it’s no fluke. I’m a tough player. I play hard, my film speaks for itself, and I’m going to bring it every day.”