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Devin Bush is heading into a critical Year 3 as the Steelers do-all inside linebacker, as there's somewhat of an unknown factor with the Michigan product. He had a promising rookie campaign and then last year he only played in five games before suffering a season-ending ACL tear in Week 6 against the Browns.
The potential is definitely there with Bush, however. Can he stay healthy and play at a Pro Bowl level? That's the big question going into this year. Pro Football Focus believes so, as they named Bush as a third-year breakout candidate in 2021.
"You could certainly argue that Devin Bush hit the ground running in the NFL and that his absence last season highlighted how good he already is," Sam Monson of PFF wrote. "But the Steelers ask a lot from their linebackers, and his PFF grade hasn’t caught up with the ability he showed during his rookie season. Bush had an overall PFF grade of 62.9 as a rookie, only earning a grade above 70.0 in tackling. He missed only 10 of his 116 total attempts.
"He was solid in coverage, allowing a passer rating of 105.3 into his coverage, which sounds high but is almost exactly league average for targets against linebackers. There is no doubting Bush's talent, but 278 snaps in an injury-shortened campaign in 2020 did little to show any improvement over that rookie season. A pronounced step forward within the scheme this year could result in Bush’s down-to-down consistency and production meeting his highlight-making skills."
Bush said during OTAs that he feels 80-90 percent recovered from his ACL tear and expects to be 100 percent by training camp.
The last step in Bush's recovery process is to get the mental side of things down and feel confident when running and changing directions.
“It’s definitely the mental part,” Bush said. “Physically, you can recover from it and come out of it. It’s the mental part about going full speed and not thinking about it.”