Who Brock Huard wants to be the Seahawks’ breakout veteran

Jun 26, 2023, 12:33 PM

Seattle Seahawks Devin Bush...

Linebacker Devin Bush during 2023 Seattle Seahawks OTAs. (Photo: Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

(Photo: Taylor Jacobs/Seattle Sports)

The Seattle Seahawks probably wouldn’t have been the surprise success they were in 2022 without a breakout season by a key veteran player.

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That player was quarterback Geno Smith, who emerged as a Pro Bowler in his first full season as a starter in eight years and won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.

Could the Seahawks have another veteran player who breaks out in a similar way this year?

There are two candidates to be the 2023 version of Smith, according to Seattle Sports’ Brock Huard, and they’re both on the other side of the ball.

“The obvious is Jamal,” Huard said, referring to strong safety Jamal Adams during the Blue 88 segment of Monday’s edition of Brock and Salk. “Jamal has got to have that Comeback Player of the Year kind of season after two seasons riddled with injuries and being just a nonfactor, so he’s the guy. And I’ll say the other one that’s intriguing to me is Devin Bush.”

Bush may fit the bill even better than Adams, because while Adams is a three-time Pro Bowler, one-time All-Pro and set the record for most sacks by a defensive back in a single season in 2020, Bush has never lived up to the hype he came into the league with.

Huard: What the Seattle Seahawks get in new LB Devin Bush

The soon-to-be 25-year-old Bush was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his production hasn’t quite taken off in the pros. Huard, a former NFL quarterback who is now a FOX college football analyst, has seen the impact of the 5-foot-11, 234-pound Bush up close from his college days, though.

“When I called his games at Michigan, he was the alpha, man,” Huard said, recalling how former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown missed Bush’s contributions when he sat out the Peach Bowl at the end of the 2018 season. “… (Brown) was so fired up, and he wasn’t mad at Devin Bush – he understood this is the way it goes but he knew he’s missing the lifeblood of that team. That when Devin decided to skip the New Year’s Six Bowl, he knew you’re ripping the heart and the engine out of that defense.”

Seattle has a new duo at linebacker with the offseason signings of Bush and Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks franchise legend who returns after one season away playing with the Los Angeles Rams. Huard hopes Bush can pair with Wagner in a way similar to how he did in the Legion of Boom defense with K.J. Wright.

“I think we clearly know Bobby Wagner. This staff knows Bobby Wagner, Bobby Wagner knows himself. The guy that we don’t know is Devin Bush,” Huard said. “He was a top 10 pick. You saw him out there, he’s not the biggest guy, but when he’s right he is one explosive dude. I’m hoping to see some of that explosive fiber. … This defense was at its best when it had two playmakers at linebacker, when it was Bobby and K.J. together. I really hope that Devin Bush is that story we’re talking about in 2023.”

Listen to Monday’s Blue 88 in the audio player near the top of this post or in the final segment of the podcast at this link.

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