Can contribute in coverage on backs, tight ends and receivers
Covers a lot of ground in zone coverage
Can break down in space
Takes false steps in coverage
Not a standout in-the-box run defender
Can get pushed back defending runs coming downhill
Summary: With the NFL becoming a passing-driven league, pro teams need linebackers who are fast athletes and capable of contributing to pass coverage. Bush is that kind of linebacker, and he gave perfect proof with a stellar NFL Scouting Combine highlighted by a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash. Bush has a skill set that is coveted throughout the NFL.
Bush's sophomore season was his best, and he totaled 101 tackles with five sacks, eight passes broken up and an interception. In 2018, Bush recorded 78 tackles with five sacks, nine tackles for a loss, six passes broken up and five sacks.
For the NFL, Bush is a seek-and-destroy linebacker. His best trait is world-class speed for a 5-foot-11, 234-pound linebacker. Bush can flat out fly while patrolling sideline to sideline and has the ability to cover a ton of ground. He displays easy speed to close on ball-carriers or receivers running into open territory. On top of his speed, Bush is an agile athlete who can break down in space and get backs to the ground. He is a steady open-field tackler and also will flash some violence, as he throws ball-carriers to the ground with authority. Bush also does a nice job of going for the strip when making a tackle.
As a run defender, Bush is at his best using speed to chase down ball-carriers. He has issues with holding his ground and taking on blocks, so he is not a skilled in-the-box run defender. That is one reason why his tackle total was depressed despite having played in a running conference. Offensive linemen are able to get a push on him and knock him back. Bush will sometimes try to run around blocks, but generally he is pretty good at holding his gap. Bush does very well defending perimeter runs and is quick to blast into the backfield when he sees a stretch play developing. He is aggressive and can be susceptible to overpursue. Bush also has average instincts that are moderately disappointing.
In pass coverage, Bush has the speed and athletic ability to be a real asset. He is fast to run with backs, tight ends and wide receivers. However, he needs to improve his recognition as he will take false steps in coverage that put him in a tough spot of having to close on separation. Bush covers a lot of ground in zone coverage in the middle of the field with the ability to limit gains downfield. He is a good blitzer, utilizing his speed to dart by blockers, and he is adept at generating pressure on the quarterback.
Bush's best fit at the next level would come as a Will - weak side - linebacker playing next to a true Mike - middle - linebacker in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. That would help to let Bush run free and use his speed to make plays while reducing the amount of blocks he has to take on from offensive linemen.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, Bush is expected to be a first-round pick. His range is expected to be middle of the first round to late in the first round.
Player Comparison: Shaq Thompson. There are a lot of similarities with Thompson and Bush. Both of them are versatile athletes who are very fast and almost identical in size. Thompson (6-0, 230) was the 25th-overall pick in 2015, and Bush could go in the same range in the 2019 NFL Draft. While being very fast and dynamic athletes, both Bush and Thompson seems to have something missing with just average instincts that keep them from producing big tackle totals.
NFL Matches: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, New England
The Bengals need linebacker help. It was a real weakness for them in 2018, and they have since moved on from Vontaze Burfict. Bush would make sense for Cincinnati if the team traded down in the first round.
Staying in the AFC North, Pittsburgh also has to improve its inside linebackers, and Bush could be a top contender for the Steelers at pick No. 20.
The Raiders need more linebacker talent to go with Burfict, and Bush could interest Oakland with one of its picks in the 20s.
Among the playoff teams, there are a lot of potential landing spots for Bush. Indianapolis could consider a linebacker like Bush to go with Darius Leonard. The Packers could use an inside linebacker to replace Jake Ryan. Inside linebacker was a weakness for the Rams in 2018, so Bush could interest them at pick No. 31. The defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots also could use some youth at linebacker.