Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NFL Draft Countdown T-minus 3 days

With three days until the NFL draft, we're continuing our NFL draft preview. In this edition, we take a look at the Bush Effect (not our 43rd President but rather Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints).

2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush was supposed to be the next can't miss star of the National Football League (emphasizing it like Ron Jaworski would, because it’s cooler to say than just NFL.) However, since being drafted by the Saints with the second pick in draft, Bush has been labeled a disappointment by many football pundits. He has certainly kept a high profile, as dating Kim Kardashian will do (but is anyone actually keeping up with the Kardashians?) However, he was supposed to be a transcendent NFL player after his electrifying career at USC, but he has underachieved in the NFL…or has he?

Some like ESPN's own Mel Kiper thought he was always going to be limited even when they scouted him in college. Many experts said he was going to be a game changer but doubted his ability to be a feature back. If Reggie Bush's career was to be a Coors Light Commercial, Dennis Green would be the coach and not Jim Mora. Reggie Bush is who draft experts thought he was, and he isn't off the hook yet.

Since Bush isn’t a feature back, he hasn’t had the conventional impact that most Football pundits were expecting. However, Bush still electrifies the NFL with his punt returns and his big play ability. Since entering the league, the Reggie Bush effect has become apparent upon the league. He was seen as a “can't miss” player; however, he couldn't fit into any existing schemes as a feature back. His skill set doesn't allow him to take the pounding up the middle and break big runs out of base plays and schemes. To get yards he needs big holes and gadget plays. When he is in the game, defenses automatically play for a draw, screen, end around or reverse. As a result, his talents and abilities are now even more defended against limiting his productivity.

The Bush Effect can be seen on both sides of the ball. Look at all the coaches who take their retread players with them to their new teams because they know they will fit into their schemes. Eric Mangini alone has taken Jets defensive lineman C.J. Mosley, cornerback Hank Poteat, outside linebacker David Bowens and safety Abram Elam with him to the Browns. Now, look at a player like Percy Harvin, who is falling down draft boards. He doesn't fit into a particular scheme because of what he did as a Gator, so now teams are labeling him as a bad route runner, or not durable. Translation: we are afraid that we can't fit Percy into our schemes and we don't want to make packages for him so we just aren't going to draft him. He was a do-it-all back/receiver of the Gators Spread Offense leading them to two national championships. Just because he had success in a non conventional college offense doesn't mean he can't fit into a traditional NFL offense. He can.

Here at Guys Who Like Sports, we urge coaches and GM’s to be creative. Just because you can't envision an electrifying player in your system doesn't mean you shouldn't take him. Don't punish players for having good all around games, like Bush, without doing one thing extremely well. Percy Harvin could end up being one of the best wide receivers in the league, but if you can’t think outside the box and envision a way to put a playmaker like him on the field, you might pay for it down the road.

-Guy #2

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