Best New Orleans Saints Draft Choices From FBS Schools: USC
Who is the best player the New Orleans Saints ever drafted from the USC Trojans?
From May 1 until the start of the 2016 NFL season on September 11, we’re going to list the best players that the Saints ever drafted from all 128 FBS schools, as of 2015.
Of course, there are a number of schools, including Air Force, Appalachian St., Arizona, Army, Baylor, Boise St., Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Florida, Central Michigan, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Hawaii, ULM, Miami (Ohio), Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Navy, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico St., Ohio, Rice, Rutgers, San Jose St., South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Miss, TCU, Temple, Texas St., Toledo, Troy, UNLV, and UTEP, in which the Saints have never drafted a player.
Earlier, we looked at the best player that the Saints ever drafted out of UCLA.
Today, we spotlight the best player the Saints ever drafted from USC.
When it comes to deciding who the best player from USC ever drafted by the Saints is, the choice is limited to tight end Hoby Brenner (1981), running back Reggie Bush (2006), linebacker Jack Del Rio (1985), defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (2008), linebacker Willie Hall (1972), running back Don McCall (1967), running back Rod McNeill (1974), running back/kick returner Chad Morton (2000), linebacker Scott Ross(1991), defensive back Ernest Spears (1990), and receiver Kevin Williams (1981).
The pick is going to be Bush.
A native of Spring Valley, California, Bush, who was the 2nd-overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, played five years for the Saints, from 2006-2010.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Bush came to the Saints amid much fanfare, and a fabulous collegiate career at USC, in which he won the 2005 Heisman Trophy Award (which has since been stripped from him).
In his rookie season of 2006, Bush played in all 16 games, starting 8, while rushing for 665 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Those statistics weren’t what many people projected, but as he was over the course of his career, Bush was a major threat out of the backfield, catching a career-high 88 passes for 742 yards and 2 scores.
All of a sudden, those 1,407 combined rushing/receiving yards make his 2006 season look a lot better, especially due to the fact that the Saints were extremely successful as a team, advancing to the NFC Championship for the first time ever.
In 2007, Bush rushed for a Saints-high 581 yards and 4 touchdowns, while catching 73 passes for 417 yards and 2 touchdowns.
As the years went on, the stats for Bush dwindled, as he rushed for 404, 390, and 150 yards, while compiling 52, 47, and 34 catches in the 2008-2010 seasons, respectively.
In July of 2011, the Saints traded Bush to the Miami Dolphins, in exchange for safety Jonathan Amaya and a swap of 6th round draft picks, ending his time with the franchise.
With the Dolphins, Bush rushed for a career-high 1,086 yards in 2011, before coming back with 986 yards in 2012, before signing as a free agent with the Detroit Lions prior to the 2012 campaign.
Bush had a successful first year with the Lions, rushing for 1,006 yards, before falling off to 297 yards in 2014, his final year in Detroit.
In 2015, Bush played in 5 games for the San Francisco 49ers, compiling 56 total yards, before suffering a knee injury.
Bush may have not lived up to the lofty, and in a lot of cases, unrealistic expectations, but he was a solid player for a number of years, and a key contributor on a Saints team that won the Super Bowl in 2009.
In 5 seasons with the Saints, Bush appeared in 60 games, including 41 as a starter accumulating 2,090 rushing yards, 2,142 receiving yards, and 33 total touchdowns.
In 10 seasons in the NFL, Bush, currently a free agent, played in 121 games, including 96 games as a starter, compiling 5,493 rushing yards, 3,508 receiving yards, and 57 total touchdowns.
The Saints had an outstanding draft in 2006, selecting Alabama defensive back Roman Harper in the second round, Bloomsburg offensive lineman Jahri Evans in the third round, Purdue defensive end Rob Ninkovich in the fourth round, and Northwestern offensive lineman Zach Strief and Hofstra receiver Marques Colston in the seventh round.
Bush, Harper, Evans, and Colston were all starters on the 2009 Saints team which won the Super Bowl, while Strief was a 5-year starter later in his career, and Ninkovich, who played only one year for the Saints, is still a starter in the NFL.