After surprise, Saints ready to take Bush at No. 2
Posted: Friday April 28, 2006 10:48PM; Updated: Friday April 28, 2006 10:48PM
Reggie Bush, who had 1,658 rushing yards in his junior season at USC, is at the top of most teams' wish lists.
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NEW ORLEANS -- Now that the first big surprise of the 2006 NFL Draft has hit the football world, the New Orleans Saints on Friday night were preparing for the second.
General Manager Mickey Loomis, from his bunker at Saints' headquarters just after 10 p.m. EST, said he didn't think he would accept any offers for USC superstar running back Reggie Bush prior to Saturday's noon start of the 71st NFL draft.
"He [Bush] is the No. 1 player on our board," Loomis said during a break in staff meetings at the Saints' facility. "He's the No. 1 player on a lot of teams' boards. To be truthful, I don't expect us to be moving the pick."
The Saints, like most teams in the NFL, had heard the recent rumblings out of Houston that signability was going to be a factor in getting a deal done with either Bush or N.C. State defensive end Mario Williams, but it still came as a surprise Friday night to Saints' brass when it was Williams, not Bush, who agreed to a six-year, $54-million contract with the Texans and became the first overall pick in the draft.
"It was very surprising," Loomis said. "We'd heard, just like everyone else, that they wanted to get their first pick signed, and I can understand that, but it did come as something of a surprise even though Williams is such a great player."
So the Saints, who earned the second-overall pick in the draft with a 3-13 record in 2005, appear poised to take the most explosive running back to come out of college football in years. If Bush is the pick, he'll add an explosive dimension to an offensive backfield that already has added free-agent quarterback Drew Brees in free agency. Bush would complement incumbent running back Deuce McAllister, who's returning from major knee surgery.
Prior to Houston's blockbuster announcement, the Saints were expected to strongly consider Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the second pick. Or, New Orleans would've considered trading down several slots in the first round as long as the team could've drafted one of its top prospects, such as Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk.