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Saints opt for excitement

When right offer didn't come, Bush just made sense

Posted: Saturday April 29, 2006 1:43PM; Updated: Saturday April 29, 2006 2:16PM
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Reggie Bush will mean plenty of ticket sales for the Saints.
Reggie Bush will mean plenty of ticket sales for the Saints.
Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
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METAIRIE, La. -- So here's what it came down to for the Saints: Should they just sit on their second overall pick in the draft and take the top-rated player on their board, Reggie Bush? Or should they move down a couple of spots (presumably to the Jets, who had the No. 4 and No. 29 picks and would have made the most sense) and grab two 10-year cornerstones for their offensive line: tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and, if he was still there, center Nick Mangold from Ohio State?

"We got a couple offers, but they weren't remotely close to anything we'd consider,'' said GM Mickey Loomis a few minutes after changing the face of this recently sorry franchise.

"Nothing significant,'' coach Sean Payton told me.

This is a total no-lose decision for the Saints. Their ticket phones are ringing off the hook. Their ticket director, Mike Stanfield, took me in there shortly after the pick was announced and the place was going crazy. Good for the Saints. If any team and any city needed a great day, it was this one.

Five Things I Think I Think

1. I think the amount of pressure on Mario Williams will be incredible. Imagine what the people in Houston feel. Their team passed on local hero Vince Young and on the best player in the draft, Bush. Imagine what happens to Williams when he goes four games without a sack. That's my biggest question about this kid. How, at 21, with a jillion dollars in the bank and never having been subjected to the kind of scrutiny he'll be facing in Houston, will he handle the heat?

2. I think Jets coach Eric Mangini and senior VP Mike Tannenbaum did exactly what their mentors -- Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli -- would have done: take the best 10-year lineman available. The Pats got ridiculed for taking some of the no-name offensive and defensive linemen they've signed in recent years (Ty Warren, Logan Mankins), but they've built tremendous lines -- at least on defense -- and Belichick will tell you that's why the team has been able to stay consistently good.

3. I think that was a touching, meaningful thing, Vernon Davis crying when he was picked. I hear he's a great, hard-working kid. This was the best thing that could ever have happened to Alex Smith, the 49ers quarterback in dire need of weapons..

4. I think the Raiders will regret passing on Matt Leinart.

5. I think Arizona broke the heart of Joe Brownsfan just now, if my HBO boss Brian Hyland can be believed. Hyland texted me after the Raiders inexplicably passed on Leinart. Sorry, Brian. Dennis Green interrupted your dream of Hollywood on Lake Eerie beginning this fall.

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