USC football linebacker Porter Gustin went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, signing with the New Orleans Saints after days of speculation
The New Orleans Saints have a new linebacker and Porter Gustin has a new home. The USC football edge rusher didn’t come off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft, however. He was signed as an undrafted free agent two days after Saturday’s action in Nashville ended, according to Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com.
“USC EDGE Porter Gustin will be joining the #Saints as an UDFA per source. Source adds #Bills had offered Gustin a rookie minicamp invite, but NO swooped in with UDFA contract,” Talbot tweeted on Monday.
Gustin was expected to be drafted along with Chuma Edoga, Iman Marshall, Marvell Tell and Cameron Smith. Since he wasn’t, USC’s all-time draft picks total sits at 509.
The big surprise was how long it took Gustin to be picked up after the draft. While other Trojans were signed in the hours that followed, no news arrived on Gustin’s status. The only inkling of an update came from Gustin himself, who posted on Instagram a message about the woes of trying to play through injury.
A 6-foot-5, 260-pound monster of an outside linebacker, Gustin has been praised for his relentlessness as a pass rusher and his stout play on the edge against the run.
Few players have produced for USC with such ferocity. Unfortunately, Gustin’s bright play was severely limited by injury. He missed 16 games over the last two seasons. It’s that same injury record which appears to have kept him from rising higher up the draft charts.
If he can stay healthy, Gustin could become one of the steals of draft weekend as an UDFA. However, it remains a big if.
Gustin arrived at USC in 2015 as a coveted linebacker prospect, ranking 41st nationally in the 247Sports composite. He was the No. 4 outside linebacker available.
Signs of his potential dominance were clear from his freshman season, when he served as a backup in 12 games and started twice. Despite limited playing time, he had seven tackles for loss and a team-high 5.5 sacks.
Having earned a starting job in the 2016 season, Gustin continued to harass players in the opposing backfield, leading the team with 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks while adding four deflections.
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Gustin was expected to contend for All-American honors in 2017, but he suffered a broken toe and a torn bicep, injuries he attempted to play through, and his season was ended with just four appearances. He still managed three sacks that season.
The 2018 season held a similar narrative. After six games, a fractured ankle ended Gustin’s college career. Before the injury, he had garnered first team midseason All-American honors from CBSSports. His seven sacks in six games ranked third in the Pac-12 for the entire season.
Ahead of the draft, it was revealed that Gustin tested positive for PEDs at the NFL Combine. However, the failed test was for Adderall, an ADHD medication for which he received an exemption from the NFL ahead of time.