Porter Gustin didn’t hear his name called during the 2019 NFL Draft, however he did manage to find a new home. The former USC edge rusher was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent Monday morning. Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com first reported the signing on Twitter. Gustin had a post on his instagram account that confirmed the signing.
#USC EDGE Porter Gustin (@PorterGustin) 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. pic.twitter.com/WNyqZZBVZb— Ryan Talbot (@RyanTalbotBills) April 29, 2019
Gustin going undrafted was surprising, as he was expected to be one of the Trojans to be selected by an NFL team in the draft. It was even more surprising that he waited two days before even signing as an undrafted free agent, after other Trojans were being picked up after the draft. The former USC linebacker posted on his Instagram following the NFL Draft.
View this post on Instagram
I’ve always played through pain, even extreme pain, as long as I believed I could still help my team win. I have considered this quality to be a direct reflection of where I came from, how I was raised, and my overall toughness. I’ve learned over the last couple years that sometimes what you believe to be your greatest strengths turn out to be your greatest weaknesses. My pride blinded me and I have paid a heavy price for it. I wish I would have realized this a long time ago, for anyone reading this, don’t make the same mistakes that I did! That being said, my lesson has been learned, my health is as good as ever, and there is a lot of ball left to play. This is just the beginning! #fighton
At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Gustin was one of the key players on the USC defense and known for disrupting the opposing backfield coming off the edge. During his first season as a starter in 2016, Gustin had a team high 13 tackles for loss with 5.5 sacks and four pass deflections. His junior and senior seasons would unfortunately be cut short due to injuries. Gustin was very productive in the Trojans pass rush before the injuries.
When healthy Gustin can make an impact in the pass rush coming off the edge, however the big question his health. It’s possible that the injury concerns played a factor in the edge rusher’s slide in the draft. NFL teams could be concerned with Gustin’s ability to stay healthy, but all it takes is one team to take a chance on a player.
There was also a report of Gustin testing positive for PED’s at the NFL combine. The failed drug test was for Adderall, which is a medication for those with ADHD. Gustin received an exemption from the NFL before the NFL combine.
The Saints run a 3-4 defense where the outside linebackers rush off the edge. USC ran a very similar defense under former defensive coordinator and current Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and current Trojans defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Gustin will be in a very similar role where he can rush off the edge. The scheme fit is there for Gustin and Saints head coach Sean Peyton, could get the most out of him. The former USC edge rusher will have training camp and the pre-season to make it on the Saints active roster come September.