Make A Choice: Devin Bush Or Jabrill Peppers
If you could get either Devin Bush Jr. or Jabrill Peppers back for one year in 2020, who would you pick?
First of all, you can't go wrong with either guy. Both were consensus All-Americans and left Ann Arbor with more trophies than you can fit in a U-Haul.
As I recently referenced in my Top Five Linebackers Under Jim Harbaugh article, Bush and Peppers are by far the two most decorated backers to strap on a winged helmet since Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor. They earned those honors by being productive and dynamic in a very aggressive Don Brown defense. Bush finished his Michigan career with 194 tackles including 19.5 for loss and 10 sacks, while Peppers accumulated 125 tackles including 21.5 for loss and four sacks.
Bush was obviously a more traditional linebacker at Michigan manning the middle of the defense and flying from sideline to sideline for two seasons. At 5-11, 233 pounds he's not the biggest linebacker in the world, but he can absolutely fly, has great instincts and arrives at ball carriers with bad intentions. Peppers played the more specialized viper position in Brown's defense and was utilized in a variety of ways at 5-11, 213 pounds. He was an outstanding blitzer, always did a phenomenal job fighting off blocks on the perimeter and keeping contain and as high school defensive back, was rarely out of position in coverage.
Both players are known for being exceptionally fast for their position, and amazingly, Bush actually ran a faster 40 time (4.43) than Peppers did (4.46) at their respective NFL Combines. Going sub-4.5 as a linebacker is really moving and certainly played a big part in both players being drafted in the first round.
With all that said, who would you take? If you could add Bush or Peppers to the roster in 2020, and watch them trot out onto the field against Washington in Seattle, who would you pick? I put Bush at No. 1 on the "best linebackers list", but is he the obvious choice?
I'm actually taking Peppers.
If there was a rule that said I could only play the player on defense, I'd take Bush, but with Josh Gattis now running the offense, I'd definitely take Peppers. Throw in the fact that U-M is going to be breaking in a new punt returner next fall with Donovan Peoples-Jones off the the NFL, and I think Peppers brings a ton of value to the return game.
Because of his ability to blitz and cover on defense, run, catch and handle the ball on offense and break a game open in the return game, I would take Peppers over Bush for a roster boost in 2020.