Almost every year there is one player who stands out above the rest of the prospects in the NFL draft. This year, it's University of Southern California RB Reggie Bush. People have been raving about Bush all year. His numbers don't show it precisely, but Bush has proven that he is worthy of the hype he has been getting.
Bush, 6-0, 200 pounds, started to gain attention in 2004, but it was in 2005 when he began to show what he was capable of. His 1,740 rushing yards on the season aren't breathtaking when it comes to college running backs, but his average of 8.7 yards per carry is. His 19 total touchdowns in 2005 helped him win the Heisman Trophy and helped bring the Trojans to the Rose Bowl.
Bush has proven himself to be the type of player that can change a game in a matter of seconds. He is known for his speed, which is the main reason he is able to break out for big plays. He is able to outrun the opposing defense but is also able to avoid and break a few tackles in the process. He has also shown incredibly steady hands by going three seasons without a single fumble. He did have the fumbled lateral during the Rose Bowl, however.
Bush makes most of his big plays with his rushing ability but has proven himself to be a versatile player. He is also known for his ability to gain big yardage as a receiver as well as a punt returner. He has caught a total of 80 passes the last two seasons for 987 yards.
He has also been able to stay injury-free during his college career. He has never missed a game with USC.
The biggest negative going against Bush is that he hasn't been tested very much at the collegiate level. The Pacific-10 isn't a conference with many strong defenses, and USC is one of the few teams with one. Bush will face much stronger defenses in the NFL. He may also see more attention in the NFL. With USC's strong passing game, defenses had their attention divided between QB Matt Leinart and Bush. However, if he lands with a team that isn't able to move the ball down the field with the passing game, he may have more trouble getting by the defense.
Bush also faced a relatively light workload at USC. He only had 200 carries in 2005 while RB LenDale White had 197 and took most of the goal-line opportunities. Due to this, Bush may not be ready to become a full-time starter right away. However, this may actually work to his advantage since teams won't have to worry about drafting a player who was overworked during his college career.
To many people, Bush has become the defining player of this year's draft. He has become the Eli Manning or the Carson Palmer of 2005. In fact, he has become such a defining player that people were referring to games like the Week 14 matchup between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders as "Reggie Bush games" due to the implications of who could be drafting him at the time. It may be a surprise to see him not taken with the first overall pick, but it is a possibility since the Texans already have a talented running back in Domanick Davis and more pressing needs at other positions. When you add in owner Bob McNair's love for hometown hero Texas QB Vince Young, it could be possible that Bush doesn't go No. 1 overall.
The New Orleans Saints have the second overall pick but also have a solid starter in Deuce McAllister (knee). However, with the Tennessee Titans picking third overall, it's unlikely that Bush will fall any further, especially since the Titans don't have a very stable running back situation and have offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who worked with Bush at USC before the 2005 season.
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