Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reggie a lock?

Is Reggie Bush a lock for the #1 pick in the NFL Draft? In the words of college football analyst Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend." Yes, Reggie is exciting, sensational, breathtaking and any other adjective you can think of. He's minutes away from winning the Heisman Trophy. His hype is through the roof, similar to USC quarterback Matt Leinart this time last year. But for running backs in this era, especially those who lack prototype NFL size and power, the #1 pick remains as elusive as Reggie himself. Despite what talking heads around the football nation are saying, Reggie is not a lock.

Forget the little fact that he heasn't declared yet. It would be shocking to see him back at USC next year. The biggest hurdle for Reggie right now, is teammate Matt Leinart. Quarterbacks have owned the #1 slot. Seven of the last eight #1's have been QBs. When teams are built, QB is the first spot teams look at. It's the money position.

One player the media likes to compare Reggie to is former Heisman winner, Barry Sanders. Afterall, they play a similar brand of football, and dominated the college game with ease. The 2006 draft is shaping up much like the year Sanders came out--1989. In '89 Sanders went 3rd overall to the Lions. Who went first? Troy Aikman--a quarterback in the Leinart mold. As amazing as Sanders was, you can't argue with the choice of Aikman. He was the leader of a Dallas Cowboys team that went on to win three Super Bowls, being named MVP of the 1993 game.

Who went second in 1989? Tony Madarich--okay that was a really bad call, and a topic for another discussion. The importance of the combine, though, should not be underestimated. It's what helped guys like Madarich catapult to the top of draft boards. Reggie probably won't do much at the combine, except one thing-- weigh in. If he shows up at 5'11" and 195, he can kiss the #1 spot goodbye. No GM will drop that kind of cash on, potentially, the next Eric Metcalf. Now, if he weighs in at 6'0" and 215, while still running a 40 yard dash in the 4.3 range at his Pro-Day, there will be tough choices to make. Even at that size, former Auburn runner Cadillac Williams (#5 pick in '05) saw his back-up, Ronnie Brown, go three spots ahead of him. Brown ran extremely well at the combine while weighing in at over 230 lbs.
Adding Vince Young to the mix, who is said to be re-thinking his situation, would only complicate things further. At 6'5" with tons of speed, Young could cause quite a stir during pre-draft workouts.

There is still quite a bit to be determined. The college football season may be coming to a close, but the draft season is barely beginning. Stay tuned.

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