Aug 29, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
12. Houston passes on Reggie Bush, drafts Mario Williams setting up teams defensive identity
Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you avoid. The Houston Texans held the first overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and pretty much everyone who chimed in called for the team to select USC running back Reggie Bush.
The Heisman Trophy winner was coming off a 1,740 rushing yard season that saw him run 16 touchdowns. He added 37 receptions and 478 yards through the air with another two touchdowns. To top things off, he was also a flashy kickoff and punt returner who had four special teams touchdowns in his three seasons at Southern California.
The Texans though, are not flashy. They are a tough, blue collar franchise that wants to win with their defense. Nothing in their history proved this philosophy more than when the team surprisingly passed on Bush and took North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams.
In his senior season, Williams had 62 tackles with 24 going for a loss. He also tallied an impressive 14.5 sacks on the year. It didn’t take long for anyone to see Houston made the right move as Williams had 14 sacks in his second season and followed that up with 12 more. In his six seasons in Houston he totaled 53 sacks and 11 forced fumbles.
Bush went the other way as he never came close to reaching his potential. While a member of the New Orleans Saints, he became a glorified change of pace back who rarely saw the field before third downs. It took Reggie until 2011 to reach 1,000 yards rushing and he did so with the Miami Dolphins. He topped the 1,000-yard mark just once more, with Detroit and now is on the injured reserve as a member of his fourth team, the San Francisco 49ers.
To make matters worse, Bush has seen his Heisman Trophy taken away (he did give it voluntarily but only because he knew it was coming) and has spent much of his career trying to shake the injury prone label. While he has had a successful career, it has been nothing of what was expected for the explosive Trojan when he was entering the league.
Williams left Houston after six seasons, but only because he was given a monster six-year $100 million contract from the Buffalo Bills. The Texans had just drafted J.J. Watt at defensive end as well, which meant they were willing to let the player walk considering the huge deal.
Even though Williams career will not end in Houston, the time he spent in Houston proved that the right choice was made in 2006.
Next: Moment in history, number 11