Three Seasons Later, the Houston Texans Had It Right

Jay HendryCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2008

Draft day 2006 left analysts around the country scratching their heads.  The Houston Texans, coming off of a 2-14 season and blessed with the first pick of the draft, selected combine stud Mario Williams over hometown hero and consensus best player in college football Reggie Bush.  

The voices of displeasure were not silenced in Williams first season when he accounted for only 4.5 sacks and was, more or less, invisible.  Meanwhile, Reggie Bush seemed to be settling in nicely in New Orleans racking up over 1,000 yards offensively and looking a lot like a young Brian Westbrook.

Fast Forward to 2007, Bush failed to improve and sat out the last four games of the season with a knee injury.  Mario Williams became a one man demolition crew accounting for 14 sacks, good for a league best 45.16% of the Texans' sack total.  

Houston fans were quick to say "I told you so," (even if they had never told anyone); pessimistic realists said "Wait one more year."  The year after the break out season is crucial in determining a player's staying power.  Often a player will break out, get figured out, and retreat to relative obscurity.  The 2008 season would be the closing argument on the Bush-Williams debate.

Williams proved he was not a flash in the pan success story accounting for 12 sacks in the 2008 season or 48% of his team's total.  Despite constant double teams, Williams alone is nearly half of the Houston Texans' pass rush.  Oh yeah, he also hasn't missed a game.  

Bush has already dealt with two season shortening injuries in his three year career missing four games in 2007 and six in 2008.  While he has gotten marginally better in YPC in every season, Bush's total output has declined since his rookie year due to the missed games.

After three seasons the Bush snub can finally be put to rest.  While everyone was googly-eyed over Bush's junior season, Charley Casserly saw through it and remained levelheaded.  

He remembered that Bush had never been an every-down back and that the number one pick shouldn't be used on a change of pace player.  Casserly made the right call despite the entire sports world telling him how stupid he was.  Plus, Steve Slaton is 10 times the running back Reggie Bush is.