Round 1 - Pick 2 - USC RB Reggie Bush - 5'11, 200, 4.35 40
The majority of NFL teams had Bush rated as the #1 overall player on their draft boards, and the Saints either brushed off or did not receive a trade offer of enough value to entice them off the selection. Bush, who skipped his senior season, is a potentially game-changing player. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry for 1658 yards in 2005, and 31 receptions for 383 yards. He averaged one touchdown per 15 touches on the field, won the Heisman trophy for top collegiate football player and the Doak Walker Award for the top runningback. In three years of play, including his true freshman season, Bush has 36 rushing touchdowns, 13 receiving touchdowns, three kickoff returns for touchdowns and one punt return for a touchdown. At USC's Pro Day, Bush ran a blistering 4.33 40-yard dash, had a 10'9" long jump and a 40.5" vertical, all outstanding numbers and indicative of his superior athletic ability. Bush will also be on the cover of EA Sports' NCAA Football 2007.
"A once in a generation player." With his speed, balls skills and power, Bush is set to become the Saints' punt returner, kick returner, slot receiver and third down back. At USC Bush formed a formidable running attack next to power-mold RB LenDale White. He will have a similar setup in New Orleans with RB Deuce McAllister. Whether or not it was posturing, Saints owner Tom Benson said that he was in favor of drafting Bush, he was in favor of playing Bush, but warned that he did not want Bush to hold out and "show up in September."
"We're excited obviously about our draft pick. At this time of the year everyone talks about we got our guy, we got the #1 player on the board. In this case, we got our guy, and we got the #1 player on our board. This scenario was covered, but not as much as the others," Head coach Sean Payton said after the pick. "Mario to his credit was selected by Houston. To our good fortune, we were able to select Reggie Bush... these are exciting times not only for his group, but this city and this region... This is a player we feel strongly about on the field and off the field."
Mickey Loomis said after the pick: "We've talked about Reggie Bush over the last couple weeks several times. At one point during the last week we sat down with Mr. Benson and Rita and went through all the top picks. [Benson's] first comment was, 'How do we trade up to get Reggie Bush?' I wasn't too concerned when he came available, I wasn't too concerned about having to sell Mr. B. on Reggie Bush... [The Jets] made a call but nobody in here would even consider what they offered. Tennessee offered more than they did."