Bears 4th Round Pick #124: S Deon Bush

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The safety position has been a source of concern for me this off-season. The Bears did a thorough job of filling most of their roster holes with shrewd free agent signings, but for some reason completely ignored the safety position despite it being a major problem in 2015.

The thought of the Bears relying on Antrel Rolle again as a starting safety in 2016 is disturbing, but still the Bears let multiple free agent safeties, who would have been significant upgrades, sign with other teams. GM Ryan Pace finally addressed the position during day three of the draft, adding three safeties to the Bears roster. The first one, selected with their 2nd fourth round pick, was Deon Bush from Miami.

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As badly as I wanted the Bears to add a safety to the roster, Bush would not have been my choice at that point of the draft. West Virginia’s K.J. Dillon was still available, who I had graded about three rounds higher than Bush. Dillon was my best available at the position, but there were another five or six safeties I preferred over Bush.

In his defense, Bush is a complicated player to grade. If he had entered the draft after his 2014 season (53 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 5 forced fumbles) Bush may have been a top 50 overall pick. Instead he came back for his senior season and looked like a different player.

Bush has good size (6’0 | 200) and speed (4.52) and at times looks like a starting NFL safety. At others he looks lost with slow reaction times, confusion over where he’s supposed to be, and way too many missed tackles. One constant is Bush’s ability to lay people out. Worst case that will give him good value as a special teams gunner.

Bush has flashed the ability to be much more than a special teams weapon though. He can be a force in the box against the run, has shown good range in coverage, has the ball skills to break-up passes, and hits so hard that Bush has forced nine fumbles in his career.

At his best he’s versatile enough to play in either coverage or run support, which is a key element in Fangio’s scheme. Unfortunately it’s been a long time since Bush has been at the top of his game.

This is my least favorite pick of the draft. Partly because the rest of the picks were so good, partly because I felt there was a better safety(s) on the board, and partly because of the uncertainty. If the Bears get the 2014 version of Bush, this might be one of the best picks of their draft. If they get the 2015 version, it will be the worst.

Scouting reports on Deon Bush:

From CBS Sports

"Bush was considered one of the better seniors at his position over the summer, but his 2015 season was disappointing as he battled injuries and inconsistency. Whether it be in run support, protecting the middle against the pass or as a gunner on special teams, Bush is a heat-seeking missile with a knack for delivering monster hits.He is a good size/speed athlete, who loves to fly around and hit, both on special teams coverages and from different levels of the defense. But his instincts and awareness aren’t ready for the NFL, finding himself out of position and playing out of control. Bush desperately needs positive pre-draft workouts to repair his damaged draft stock."


"Bush’’s diagnostic skills are very much a work in progress and his 2015 tape will be enough to concern general managers and secondary coaches. Bush has the size and measurables that will appeal to traits-based defenses and his special teams ability could earn him a spot on the coverage teams right off the bat. However, his stiffness in space and issues with change of direction projects him as a special teams specialist with only box safety potential."