Time running out in New Orleans for Reggie Bush
When the Houston Texans kicked off the 2006 NFL Draft by selecting North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams they were the laughing stock of the league. Their brave move was greeted with howls of derision.
Heading into that selection of the leading players in college football, anyone with half a gridiron brain thought the Texans would choose Reggie Bush, a star running back from the University of Southern California who went to the New Orleans Saints with the second pick.
No one is laughing at the Texans now - at least not about that move, anyway. While Williams has become a dominant defender who has recorded more sacks than any other player in the AFC over the past two seasons, Bush has been inconsistent, injury-prone and largely uninspiring.
Sure, there have been moments of magic and pure athletic genius. But those have been too few and far between. And now more than ever, Bush looks like being a luxury player and little more than that - he is someone who can carry the ball 10 times per game, catch five or six passes and return punts.
That's fine, but I'm sure the Saints would happily sacrifice the punt returns if Bush proved he were capable of pounding the ball into the heart of the opposing defence 22 times every weekend. And he clearly is not that kind of runner.
With his speed and moves, Bush is a highlight reel play waiting to happen. But there is more to being an NFL running back than that. It's also about heart and passion - there are times when you have to lower your head and plough forward for a two or three-yard gain. Grinding out those tough yards is an every-down runner's bread and butter.
Bush has struggled to make a big impact in the NFL despite an excellent college career
But that style of play just doesn't suit Bush. To be effective in the NFL, you have to run north and south at times, but Bush is more of an east-west kind of guy. If he did any more dancing in the backfield he'd be in danger of getting marks out of 10 from Len Goodman.
Time is running out for Bush to make his mark and prove he can be a regular performer in New Orleans. When Pierre Thomas (who has been named the starter above Bush) was out injured in last week's season opener at home against Detroit, the Saints turned to journeyman Mike Bell and he responded with 143 yards on the ground.
Bush was booed by Saints fans as his contribution consisted of seven runs for 14 yards and two lost fumbles. I know Bush has been working hard this week to make amends for that display, but I cannot see him playing a larger role in the immediate future.
With Bush in his fourth season, I'm not ready to paint him as a complete bust - he is too talented for that. But I also don't think we'll ever feature him in discussions about the best running backs in the business.
Game of the Week
We have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills on BBC 5 live sports extra this week, but I will also be keeping a close eye on the Baltimore Ravens' visit to the San Diego Chargers. That is the line-up I have predicted for the AFC Championship Game.
It should be a bruising affair featuring two talented teams but I have a feeling the Ravens will just sneak it behind the offensive duo of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice.
Prediction: Baltimore 27 San Diego 24
You can catch Neil commentating on an NFL game every Sunday on BBC 5 live sports extra throughout the season.(UK users only).