ESPN today released a look at the top ten players in each conference of the NFL who they deem as the most "versatile" players in the game. Obviously, the list is dominated by players at the "skill" positions, although there are linemen from both sides of the ball on the list.
ESPN introduces the piece by writing:
"In today's NFL, spread offenses and defenses with multiple fronts are commonplace. Coaches crave offensive players who can not only play wideout or running back, but can also return kicks and punts. On defense, tackles who can drop back into coverage and also rush the passer are able to stay on the field all three downs. Versatility allows these players to stay on the field and use their talents for the most time every game."
But, before we get to Bush, let's look at the top "versatile" player in the AFC, especially since he is in the AFC East (as are all of the top four, and six of the top ten). The most versatile player in the AFC is New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow. About Tebow, ESPN writes:
"These coaches have a huge challenge in front of them to find the right role for Tebow without disrupting the flow of the Jets' offense. He will likely get snaps on special teams, mostly as a punt protector, but his biggest production will come in their Wildcat package as the QB in that scheme. However, it won't be your traditional Wildcat look because he will have to come in from the sidelines and replace Mark Sanchez for a series of plays. Will the Jets' coaches add some versatility to his game by giving him some snaps as an RB, which would allow them to transition to the wildcat without substituting, keeping the element of surprise in play? The Jets could also give him some looks as an H-back or "move" TE/WR, and they might use him on some dump-off passes out of the backfield to take advantage of his running skills in space. New York doesn't lack options for using Tebow."
And now, Bush:
"He is a dynamic player in almost every aspect of this offense and under new creative head coach Joe Philbin his contributions will expand. He had 1,086 yards on the ground in 2011, added 43 receptions and really got hot at the end of the season. He can still contribute as a returner in the kicking game, but with his heavier workload, he needs help in that area. Getting him the ball in space and on the edges is always a goal, but Bush runs between the tackles more effectively than you might think."
As for the other AFC East players to make the list: