As I look back over the game film in Tampa Bay’s first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I realized that something bigger was brewing besides the national TV exposure. The game, played last Friday, was also a match-up between the first two inside linebackers chosen in April’s NFL Draft.
Devin White, who was selected fifth-overall by Tampa Bay and Devin Bush, selected just five spots later at the 10th overall selection by Pittsburgh via trade. Only one problem. I really only noticed the latter of the two. I’m not sure I really understood the implications of that game for Bush. But it looked as if he wanted to make it known that he was snubbed by Tampa for the fifth-overall spot.
Round One Goes To Bush
When it was all said and done, White finished the game with one tackle. He appeared at times to disappear on drives. Call it a first game. Call me harsh. Call it game jitters. All that I know is that Devin Bush looked ready. And as much as I know NFL players tend to not buy into media stories, there’s no way White could avoid watching Bush from the sidelines tear it up against his team.
Through a little under a half of football action, Bush finished his night with 10 total tackles, seven of them solo. He was all over the football field and made contact that you could hear. Even after only playing a half of football, Bush ended the game as the lead tackler.
I truly think White and Bush’s careers will be followed in unison considering their top 10 draft status. But as always, this isn’t about individual battles but about consistent production in the regular season when it all counts.
White, more than anyone, understands that his first game wasn’t as successful as he would like. He now has a chance to show the NFL and a home crowd at Raymond James Stadium why he was drafted. White doesn’t come off as the player to have a string of bad games (he’s that good). He will make it personal to be better come the next game. Maybe it’s just me? Tonight you all will see what Devin White is capable of going against the Miami Dolphins.