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Dec. 8, 2005

Posted: Thursday December 8, 2005 12:42PM; Updated: Thursday December 8, 2005 12:42PM
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Want to argue about the NFL? Let's go ...

Bush Is A Low-Risk No. 1 Pick

Heinz Kluetmeier/SI

The race for Reggie is in full swing, with the 1-11 Texans having a slight lead over three 2-11 clubs (Jets, Niners and Packers) for the rights to the USC running back. But No. 1 picks aren't what they once were. They're risky for bad teams because they're so expensive -- something that will likely change in the next collective bargaining agreement. In the meantime, there are already reports out of New York that the Jets don't want either Bush or USC quarterback Matt Leinart because the team feels it has too many holes to fill and would be better off trading down.

The three other teams in the running for the top overall pick would also likely explore a trade. The Texans already have money invested in quarterback (David Carr) and running back (Domanick Davis) and need to upgrade their offensive line. The Packers actually have running backs if they want to keep them -- Ahman Green, Najeh Davenport and now Samkon Gado -- and have as many holes elsewhere as any other team in the league. And the Niners have to be gun shy about picking first after spending so much on last year's No. 1 overall, quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith's signing is a good example of what can go wrong with a top pick. San Francisco gave him a $49.5 million contract with $24 million of that guaranteed, but Smith has been practically been destroyed on every snap he's taken. In two starts, he's been sacked 10 times and amassed only a 17.5 passer rating for the season. What do you expect playing behind that line? The cost-conscious Niners have to be green with envy watching rookie quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Charlie Frye and Ryan Fitzpatrick producing for their teams and for a fraction of what Smith is getting.

Drafting quarterbacks high is dangerous to a GM's health right now -- look at Joey Harrington in Detroit and Carr in Houston. Quarterbacks are in the spotlight, whereas high picks at other positions can slide by -- see Raiders' offensive tackle Robert Gallery. But Bush looks like a safe choice. Even if he doesn't live up to expectations -- which are now somewhere between Jim Brown and Barry Sanders -- it's hard to imagine he won't be somewhat productive. He can't be a complete flop like some quarterbacks have been.

The team with the No. 1 overall pick will give lip service to trading the selection, but I don't think they'll get a juicy enough offer to give up Bush. The Jets may say they don't want either USC player, but wait until New Yorkers threaten a revolt in April if the team has the top pick and isn't leaning toward picking the electric running back. The Texans, Niners and Packers would also have to take him, even if they have compelling reasons not to.

In an era when no one wants a No. 1 overall pick, everyone wants Reggie Bush. Whoever can lose out -- my money's on the Jets -- will end up with the electric back. Let me know what you think?


-- Andrew Perloff (12:45 p.m.)

No way I draft Bush with the No. 1 pick. The o-line at USC could probably replace the o-lines of a couple NFL clubs. Remember Ron Dayne? In the pros you need a good line to make you productive at running back. Anyone heard of Adrian Peterson before this year? Now he's a solid RB with the Bears because of the line. Take Barry Sanders and swap him with Emmitt Smith. How insane are Barry's numbers with Dallas' All Pro o-line for at least five years? Houston needs stud o-linemen so David Carr won't be on his back at the end of every play.
-- Brad Schwardt , Hanover Park, Ill. (1:08 p.m.)

I'm a Niner fan and I would love to see Bush tear up the field for us, but he won't do that without an O-line. We have so many holes to fill on both the O-line and D-line and our secondary. Plus, I really like Gore. But we'll see if we even get the top pick.
-- David, Milpitas, Calif. (1:14 p.m.)

The Jets don't want Bush? That has to be the largest amount of dung I've ever heard. Granted, Curtis Martin is playing against eight-man fronts on a regular basis, but let's be real, he's getting older. Who knows how much more he has left to give. With LaMont Jordan gone, the Jets desperately need a new set of legs. So stop fronting, ring the bell and call Reggie Bush.
-- Glenn Palmer , Toronto (1:16 p.m.)

Green, Davenport and Gado are all unsigned for next year. Green is getting worn out from all the pounding he has taken. Davenport cannot stay healthy. Gado is still an experiment. While I agree the Packers have plenty of holes to fill, I would argue that running back is one of those holes. If they should get the chance, they should draft Bush.
-- Seth Hemmersbach , Bangor, Wisc. (1:19 p.m.)

The first pick taken in this years draft has to be Matt Leinart -- hands down (unless the Niners own the pick). There is one thing people should NOT overlook when drafting Matt and thinking he could be a bust: He has never ever been taught a thing about football by Jeff Tedford. Always use that top pick for a QB. Of course maybe it helps getting to watch the success of that other USC Heismann winner here in town.
-- Will , Cincinnati (1:20 p.m.)

As a fan of a team that has seen more No. 1 picks then most recently, I know the top pick can be dangerous. If the Texans are the team with the pick I think it would be foolish not to trade for more picks when they have a serviceable QB and a fine running back. The Packers on the other hand have a real need at RB. They seem to have a viable option at QB (even though we have not seen him) but the reason Gado has gotten press as a good RB, is what else can you say about this miserable team except a feel good story about a third-stringer. I hope Bush goes to the Pack.
-- Mickey , Cincinnati (1:22 p.m.)

I feel that Leinart, will take some time to get used to an offense. The best possible fit for him and for a team would be Tennessee. He gets Norm Chow and can learn behind Steve McNair -- what better way for a rookie? Given the fact that they will be a top-10 pick anyway a trade up would be possible, and with McNair's injuries he will get a few opportunities to play.
-- Adam Buren , Ahoskie (1:25 p.m.)

As a Jets Fan, YES, I want Reggie Bush! I'm not sold on Matt Leinart. Will he be a solid QB, most likely. Will he be a star? I have doubts. His arm strength is questionable and he's surrounded by talent, which he won't be on the losing team that takes him, which can obscure how good he really is. Plus a lot of money is invested in QBs all ready. Jay Fiedler can QB the Jets for a year and give them a chance to win some games, until they find a suitable replacement. Bush looks special, and Curtis Martin is slowing down. Would it make sense for the Jets to trade down and restock? Absolutely, and I wouldn't be against it. But as a Jets fan, you want to give me hope? Then you want to give me Reggie Bush.
-- Justin , New York (1:26 p.m.)

As a Jets Fan, YES, I want Reggie Bush! I'm not sold on Matt Leinart. Will he be a solid QB, most likely. Will he be a star? I have doubts. His arm strength is questionable and he's surrounded by talent, which he won't be on the losing team that takes him, which can obscure how good he really is. Plus a lot of money is invested in QBs all ready. Jay Fiedler can QB the Jets for a year and give them a chance to win some games, until they find a suitable replacement. Bush looks special, and Curtis Martin is slowing down. Would it make sense for the Jets to trade down and restock? Absolutely, and I wouldn't be against it. But as a Jets fan, you want to give me hope? Then you want to give me Reggie Bush.
-- Justin , New York (1:26 p.m.)

Reggie Bush can't be a complete flop?!?! What about Blair Thomas and Kijana Carter?
-- Mike Dimino , South Bend, Ind. (1:39 p.m.)

Stop already with the if Barry had Emmits line stuff. Not one of the O-linemen for Dallas was a pro-bowler before Emmitt got there. I believe he had something to do with it.
-- James , Bakersfield, Calif (1:46 p.m.)

Hey Andrew -- I'm a Jets fan. If have a chance and don't take Reggie Bush, I might jump off the Tappan Zee Bridge. Seriously -- the guys is electric and the Jets have no offense whatsoever. You can solve your QB problem (and there IS a problem) another way, but backs like Bush are once in a lifetime. Curtis has a hit a wall and Bradway has already made the Lamont Jordan mistake. Now they have to do whatever it takes (Abraham as trade bait if they have the 2 or 3 pick?) to get Reggie Bush. Oh, and I love how "the reports out of New York say the team has too many holes" now, when at the start of the season the Jets thought they were "SuperBowl contenders" with all the holes filled -- a team that could afford to trade a first round pick for Doug Jolley! The front office here is an embarrassment.
-- James , Tarrytown, N.Y. (1:56 p.m.)

I have heard from several reports that the Denver Broncos will trade both 1ST round picks and late round pick for the #1 pick in the 2006 draft. T.Bell could be added for trade too! What do you think?
-- Dan Behringer , Walsenburg, Co. (2:03 p.m.)

As a Browns' fan, I would want them to trade the pick. They should've done that with Couch, but they were too proud. If I couldn't trade it, I'd take Bush. I agree. Leinart may be great. He may be a product of the USC system. I think it's the latter.
-- Rusty , Cincinnati (2:11 p.m.)

If I am a GM with a QB need and have pick 4 or 5, I'm loving all the talk about Bush being a dead-on second coming of Gale Sayers. Matt Leinart a risk? But, if I am Cleveland or Miami or New Orleans, I want to be in that 3 to 5 slot and pick up Leinart!
-- Bill , Richmond, Va. (2:20 p.m.)

I can't believe one of these jokers compared Reggie Bush and Ron Dayne... are you kidding? Ok, here's a scenario ... The Jets trade down for the Eagles first-rounder and snag Owens and maybe an overpaid offensive lineman, McNabb and Bush in the Superbowl '07, Owens and Pennington in couples therapy.
-- Matt , Seattle (2:28 p.m.)

I agree with you wholeheartedly! Teams are leary of first round picks for a good reason ... a lot of the picks are quarterbacks who bust. I am a strong advocate of trading down. A highly volitile position like QB or RB should never be waisted on an unproven player. look at WAS or DAL ... both teams have made a name for themselves with has-been or never-was QBs. The only big money names that pop in my head are Keyshawn Johnson and Clinton Portis (corect me if i'm wrong). Bush may be an exception though. he is an oustanding back who (injuries permiting) will have AT LEAST 7 Pro-Bowl seasons.
-- Matt , Prattville, Al. (2:31 p.m.)

I think Bush can be an electric playmaker in the NFL, but I am not sure he has the durability. He has never been (and never will be) a 30-35 carries per game back. While his speed, acceleration, and freakish agility are at the very least tantalizing, he is not the right No. 1 pick for any given team. If the top pick in the draft is in need of a franchise quarterback (read: Jets), they should take Leinart without hesitation. Who does Leinart (a somewhat mobile, accurate, poised, great of the play-action lefty QB) remind me of? Steve Young.
-- Josh Fisher , Lenexa, Kan. (2:38 p.m.)

Leinart goes one to the Jets ... sorry Jets fans, Pennington is done. Bush goes number one to SF or GB. The SF line will improve with time. They have good players, just need time to develop them. Green Bay has a QB or two and a decent line. Houston ... Houston should just apply to play in the NCAA.
-- Phil Ryan , Redding, CA (2:49 p.m.)

Leinart goes one to the Jets ... sorry Jets fans, Pennington is done. Bush goes number one to SF or GB. The SF line will improve with time. They have good players, just need time to develop them. Green Bay has a QB or two and a decent line. Houston ... Houston should just apply to play in the NCAA.
-- Phil Ryan , Redding, CA (2:49 p.m.)

Why is no one talking about Vince Young leaving early? Of course we all know he is not ready, but the chance to play at home in Houston may be to hard to resist for either side.
-- Mike , Miami (2:56 p.m.)

I don't think Reggie Bush will be a flop and is the safer pick; mainly because he is a wild card and can be used in so many different spots around the field. Even if he were a bust at RB he would always be a dangerous return man (Dante Hall). I think the draft is hurting many clubs because it is a gamble you have no clue how well they will perform in the NFL. Personally I don't think you take a top 10 pick unless a team's needs are minimal; for example Green Bay could use a top WR/RB but man do they need help on defense and on the O-Line. Happy Holidays!
-- Douglas Ritchie , North Little Rock, Ark. (3:04 p.m.)

So you really think Reggie Bush is gonna be a great pro? How many highly regarded skill players go to the NFL and have mediocre careers? Yes, Reggie Bush IS a phenomenal college player, but I seriously doubt his pro potential Can you say "Desmond Howard?"
-- Mark Drinnon , Winston-Salem, N.C. (3:11 p.m.)

Perhaps the Jets can select Reggie Bush and either keep him or trade him to the Vikings for Daunte Culpepper along with some future drafts pics. Decent quarterbacs are hard to find and I figure the Jets could get lucky and find someone like the Packers' Gado at running back. Since the Jets need decent players at so many positions...they need to be looking at getting future prospects down the road, not just in this year's draft.
-- Jason , Indianapolis (3:20 p.m.)

I'm strongly convinced that the Niners, Packers, Texans & Jets will not select Reggie. You shouldn't be surprised if a team like Arizona or Baltimore tries to trade up to get him. Imagine: Reggie, Anquan and Larry.
-- Anthony Mapp , Philadelphia (3:28 p.m.)

I agree with you! Any team would be absolutely crazy not to pick Bush with the No. 1 pick. I believe he has similar skills and heart as Tomlinson. Special players like that don't come along very often and you have to snatch them up when you get the opportunity.
-- Ted , Canton, Ohio (3:31 p.m.)

Reggie Bush runs a 4.28 40. He's the best RB prospect of all time. He can juke, run, catch, return punts and kick offs -- what more could you want? Leinrt, is big, and slow, and does not have a good release. He is another Drew Bleadsoe but with a crappier arm. I don't know how anyone could not take Bush.
-- Matt , Idaho (3:35 p.m.)

Should Reggie Bush be drafted No. 1? Barry Sanders was the most electrifying runner ever, but how many Super Bowls rings does he have? Zero. In the last 5 Super Bowls, how many of the teams had a top notch RB at the time? Two. The 2004 Patriots had Corey Dillon, though he wasn't the reason they won the SB. The 2001 Rams had Marshall Faulk and they lost the Super Bowl. The point? Great RBs don't win Super Bowls. QBs, great offensive lines and great defenses do.
-- Chris, Pittsburgh (3:46 p.m.)

I usually dont agree with the prognostication of the so called experts or "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" who write on SI.com or ESPN.com as if they have all the Xs and Os of football figured out. But I can't but agree with Andrew Perloff's piece that Reggie Bush is a low-risk No.1 Pick. Regardless of what the Jets, Packers, Texans, and all those in the "Reggie Bush Race" might say at the moment for the cameras, they will all find it hard to by-pass Reggie Bush if the opportunity presents itself.
-- Cyril X , Milwaukee (3:50 p.m.)

My Niners should sign him at whatever the cost. No way the classiest organization in football will let him slip. Sign him and get a jewler ready to make Super Bowl rings. Everyone will hate us again. Team of the Teens. Good ring to it.
-- Kelvin , Fresno, Calif. (3:52 p.m.)

The stuff you hear about Leinart you heard about Peyton Manning when he came back for his senior seaon: Arm not strong enough, great talent around him made him look good, Ryan Leaf much better player. These experts always try to sound smarter than they are. Leinart will probably end up a All pro and the geniuses who knocked him will get amnesia.
-- Fitzgerald , Centreville (3:54 p.m.)

I have been wondering this for a very very very long time, why does nobody consider the fact that Reggie bush might be a flop? I get that he is an out of this world athlete tearing up the Pac 10. I get that he is the best player on USC and he makes everyone there better. I get that he is their MVP and Matt Leinart might not be half as good without him. I see all of those things. But when I watch him play ... so many cutbacks, so much dancing around ... I have never really seen him run somebody over. Maybe he is the second coming of Barry sanders. But if he isn't that gifted(and nobody else in the history of football is), is he big enough and strong enough and does he run hard enough to excel in the NFL? That reversing your field five times dancing around stuff and then just being faster than everyone else doesn't play in the NFL, the defenses are too disciplined and too fast. That's why you could never run the option. Am I the only one who likes Kenny Irons as a pro prospect more?
-- Lee Cheyne , Silver Spring, Md. (3:57 p.m.)

Yeah, What about Blair Thomas and Ki-Jana Carter, the infamous Penn State flops? They were NOWHERE near Reggie's kind of talent and versatility. When Thomas was selected with the No. 2 pick back in 1990, press notified his coach about his opinion of the selection and his reaction was 'surprised' to say the least. I'm sure when Reggie is drafted wherever he's picked, he'll be fine and also have the support and confidence of the college coach he played for to succeed in the NFL: something both Carter and Thomas didn't have. Besides, if Domanick Davis, Kevin Jones and L.T. could rush for a 1,000 yards in their rookie seasons behind what were viewed as horrible O-lines (Which Detroit and Houston still have), I'm sure Reggie can do that too. And if not that, you can always move him to wide receiver. Who wouldn't want this guy?
-- Rob Fridge , Dorchester, Mass. (4:01 p.m.)

What about Vince Young? Let's wait and see what happens during the USC-Texas game and then start making predictions about draft pick slots. If Leinart drops Texas like a bad habit and keeps the defenses back so Bush and White can run up the middle for 20 a handle, then that should be a calling card. If Bush can open up the flats so Leinart can keep his high percentage passes rolling down the field, another factor. If Texas comes out and Vince Young makes USC's suspect defense look like Colorado's, my money is on him moving into the top slot.
-- Court Harris , Seattle (4:03 p.m.)

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't think that Reggie Bush will pan out in the NFL. The size, speed, and overall strenght increases in the NFL will prove to be too much to handle for the small USC back. His vision is great; and he is fun to watch. However, there is no way the speedy NFL corners will let him run across the field like a wild man. My guess is that the Niners will end up with Reggie on draft day. To be brief, Vince Young will be a sensational QB in the NFL, if he doesn't get seriously hurt next year in Texas.
-- Kurt D. , Denver (4:05 p.m.)

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