Bushell has taken a circuitous route to becoming an NFL prospect. He spent his first three high school years at Miami Pace, where he had 1,500 all-purpose yards as a rusher and receiver in his junior year. He moved to DeSoto, Texas (south Dallas metro area) to live with his mother for his senior year (he lived with his grandmother in Miami), scoring 17 times and intercepting two passes to become one of the nation’s top “athlete” prospects.
Not surprisingly, Bushell decided to return to Florida for college, joining the Gators. He played in all 14 games of the 2009 season as a redshirt freshman (14 tackles, one interception) before transferring because of academic and off-field issues that prevented him from practicing with the team in the spring of 2010. In 2010, Bushell played at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas that fall, making 31 tackles, intercepting two passes and breaking up 11 more. Ravens coaches also used him on offense (10 rushes for 69 yards, 3-29 receiving) and special teams (six kick returns for 88 yards, 3-3 on punts).
Louisville head coach Charlie Strong was at Florida when Bushell transferred, so it was no surprise he ended up there just in time for the 2011 season to begin. Despite playing in 10 games with eight starts, he was named first-team All-Big East by league coaches after making 50 tackles, intercepting a pass and breaking up three others. He averaged 30.7 yards on nine kick returns, including a 100-yard touchdown against Connecticut, and blocked two kicks for the Cardinals (he also blocked a punt that was officially scored a forced fumble). As a senior, Bushell was named to the Coaches All-Big East first-team. He only managed to intercept one pass, but registered 13 passes defended and totaled 61 tackles. Bushell returned 17 kicks for 333 yards.
Confident outside cornerback with good length. Good short-area quickness to adjust to receiver moves off the line, stay with them on double moves, and avoid their blocks in the run game. Gives good effort as a tackler, fights through stiff-arms from larger receivers to drag them down and will shove ballcarriers out of bounds—not simply escort them. Solid in run support, rips off blocks outside and will crash inside when uncovered; also effective cutting down backs in space with his shoulder. Regularly used as a blitzer. Hand-eye coordination is very good, is able to knock away passes in front of receivers and get his hands into passing lanes when blitzing. Solid hands for the interception, as well. Displays quick closing speed off the corner as a punt blocker. Offers cutting vision and toughness as a kick returner, and takes advantage of open lanes. Works as a gunner on punt coverage.
Possesses only adequate size to play man-up against more physical receivers, who can also carry him for a few yards after contact if he isn’t the aggressor. Needs work using his hands at the line of scrimmage to knock receivers off their route; better receivers use theirs to get inside or outside position. Lacks explosiveness, will dance instead of hitting a lane hard on kick returns.
Bushell started his college career at Florida, and then transferred to a junior college to get things in order before re-joining his old coach in Gainesville, Charlie Strong, in Louisville. The 2011 and 2012 All-Big East pick’s lean fame belies his persistent and confident nature, and may remind scouts of former Louisville corner Johnny Patrick, who was a third-round pick for the Saints in 2011 with similar size and speed. Bushell has the versatility to play both inside and out, and could be a potential weapon out of the slot due to his blitzing ability.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.