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Bears Roster Breakdown, 90-in-90: Deon Bush

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This next installment looks at one of the many moving pieces in the Bears’ secondary—Deon Bush.

Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears
One of Bush’s 16 tackles.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago had a problem at defensive back last year (actually, it’s had a problem at defensive back for a few years, now). One of the ways Ryan Pace tried to fix that deficit was by spending a mid-level pick on Deon Bush, a player with a fair stat line, nice measurables, and a feel-good story (per NFL.com, “he donated his per diem money from the Independence Bowl for Christmas gifts for homeless children”).

However, there were questions about his instincts. There was some pretty mediocre tape on hand. He was projected for the fifth or sixth round, and he ended up being taken by Pace in the “infamous” fourth round of the 2016 draft.

Pro Football Reference reports that Bush ended up playing just under a third of the defensive snaps and almost a fifth of the special teams snaps for the Bears during his rookie season.

Biography

Age: 23 (24 by the start of the season)

Experience: 2nd season

Height: 6’

Weight: 200lbs

Contract and salary cap:

According to Spotrac, Bush is on the second year of a four-year “Rookie Pay Scale” deal worth $2,866,218. He’ll make $540,000 in 2016, but his dead cap money would be a little less than that (not quite $400,000). His total cap hit will be $671, 544.

Reason for improvement in 2017

Bush was noted as an aggressive but raw prospect coming out of college, but his athleticism was not in doubt. He managed to get a hand on a pass last year, and he started in six contests. Like many Bears, there’s an argument that he was pressed into service by injury and just needed more time to develop.

Reason for regression in 2017

The Bears are stacked at the “questionable defensive back” position (17 DBs are on the roster at the moment), and it’s hard to see him challenging the established players for practice reps. His instincts held him back in college, and they did not seem to improve in the pros. It’s uncertain how much time the coaching staff will be able to take with him while they develop Eddie Jackson, Harold Jones-Quartey, and Adrian Amos (to say nothing of the free agent signings).

Final roster odds

This is tough. On the one hand, Bush was taken in the fourth round last year by Ryan Pace. He invested some draft capital and a bit of reputation. On the other hand, Pace has not seemed the sentimental type. On pure merits, Bush would need to step up on special teams (his supposed strength) to make the roster. He is behind more established veterans and more promising young players. However, he’s a draft pick from only a year ago, so call it 66%.