METAIRIE â€“ The Saints completed a defense-dominated series of picks by adding a defensive end and an outside linebacker in the seventh round as the NFL Draft concluded Saturday.
They used the 226th overall pick to select defensive end Greg Romeus (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) from Pittsburgh and the 243rd overall pick to select outside linebacker Nate Bussey (6-1, 228) from Illinois. Bussey was a teammate of Martez Wilson, another Illini outside linebacker, who New Orleans took in the third round Friday.
The Saints used five of their six picks to select defensive players. The rest of their picks were Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan (first round), Alabama running back Mark Ingram (first round), Wilson (third round), and Louisville cornerback Johnny Patrick (third round).
Romeus, 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, would have been drafted much higher if not for two serious injuries that cost him most of his senior season. He was limited by back spasms in preseason and had surgery to repair a herniated disc after playing in the season opener against Utah. He returned in November, but in his first game back he tore the ACL in his right knee and had surgery to repair that. In between his two surgeries, his mother died of cancer.
He was named Big East Conference Defensive Co-Player of the Year after his junior season. He considered entering the draft early, but chose to return to the Panthers for his senior season after he was projected to be a third- or fourth-round draft pick. He finished his career with 19.5 sacks.
Romeus, a five-year player at Pitt, turned 23 on Friday. He was a basketball star in high school and became an instant star when he started playing football as a senior.
Bussey moved into the starting lineup at Illinois midway through his junior year and emerged as a key player as a senior as he started the final 18 games of his career. Bussey had 83 tackles and one interception as a senior.
Coach Sean Payton said Bussey is a weakside linebacker and Wilson will be on the strongside. Both will be given an opportunity to contribute on special teams.
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