Bumpus: 3 inside LBs Seahawks should consider in free agency

Mar 14, 2023, 12:23 PM
Seahawks Devin Bush...
Steelers linebacker Devin Bush rushes ahead of Seahawks WR DK Metcalf on Oct. 17, 2021. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Seahawks have made one reported addition in free agency to their defense with standout defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, but inside linebacker remains a glaring area of need for their roster.

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Jordyn Brooks is back for his fourth season, but Seattle’s starting middle linebacker tore his ACL in Week 16 and may not be ready for the start of the 2023 season. Fellow 2022 starting inside linebacker Cody Barton, who played on the weakside until filling in for the injured Brooks in the middle, is reportedly gone on a one-year deal with the Washington Commanders.

So who on the free-agent market could the Seahawks still go after to help fill their void at inside linebacker? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus shared three names to watch during Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports.

Lavonte David

Lavonte David, 33, has spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where the three-time All-Pro won a Super Bowl in 2020. A second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the same year and draft that the Seahawks took Bobby Wagner, David has missed just 12 games in his 11-year career.

“He’s top 10 at his position yet he’s still a bit underrated,” Bumpus said. “I think his age has something to do with it.”

Bumpus said David’s film shows he’s a “savvy veteran” that sniffs out plays and reads offensive linemen.

“He understands what he’s looking at, what he’s seeing,” Bump said. ” … He’s great at rallying to the football when the running backs are hitting the flats. He’s patient, he drops into his zone, he’s great in Tampa-2, can play the middle of the field. We’ve had linebackers here before that struggled with routes running behind him. He has a good feel for that.”

David is the type of linebacker “that you need,” Bump said of the Seahawks.

“You need a veteran in the middle who has experience, can hold it down and plays with (savvy),” he said. “… He’s just a smart football player who knows where everything is. The thing that stands out to me the most is that I love how he plays in coverage. He’s paid to make tackles, but you’re gonna have to drop in the zone every now and then and feel comfortable out there, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen one of our backers feel comfortable in the middle of the field.”

Devin Bush

The Pittsburgh Steelers took Devin Bush with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He had an impressive rookie season, but hasn’t lived up to the hype since.

“He was supposed to be the answer to the Steelers defense at that MIKE linebacker. His rookie season, they felt great about it but he never really progressed the way that they wanted him to,” Bumpus said of the 24 year old. “… Now, this is an interesting guy because you put on the film and you watch him play, he’s athletic, there’s no doubt about it. And he looks young … You put on the film of Devin Bush, you say, ‘This kid can go, but does he always know what he’s looking at?’ He makes up for a lot of his mistakes because he is a young athlete and he can get things done, but he needs to be mentored a little bit and learn how to play with this patient but eager-type of tempo that you see in these veterans.”

The Steelers are known for having great defenses and being well coached under Mike Tomlin. The fact that Bush hasn’t developed well in his four seasons there does make Bump a little hesitant.

“So if they were not able to connect the dots with Devin Bush, how is this staff gonna do it if he were to come here?” he said.

The Steelers and Seahawks have very different culture styles, however.

“You look at the Steelers, and they are hard-nosed, blue collar, shut up, get to work, let’s go,” Bumpus said. “Pete Carroll is more of a nurturer. They’re going to take your time … So that’s what keeps me optimistic about Devin Bush is that if you get him in the right culture and he’s getting coached the right way, he can make those improvements. No doubt about it, Devin Bush can play, but he needs to clean up some technical stuff.”

Anthony Walker

The last name Bump brought up was Anthony Walker, a six-year veteran who began his career with the Indianapolis Colts as a fifth-round pick in 2017. He’s played just nine games over the last two years for the Cleveland Browns.

“This guy, you’re gonna look at his stats and you’re not going to be impressed. Not a lot going on with Anthony Walker. But he’s a development type of guy,” Bumpus said. “… Anthony Walker, lots of potential but not too much on tape. But if he gets in the right situation, he can be a guy.”

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