Thread: Mario Williams
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Old 12-21-2007   #400
Wolf
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Default Re: Mario Williams

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/...per_Mario.html
Quote:
TWENTY MONTHS ago, it seemed like a no-brainer. Reggie Bush or Mario Williams? A once-in-a-decade running back or a defensive end with a questionable motor.

When the Houston Texans went with the big guy behind door No. 2, well, the club's general manager, Charley Casserly, got a lot more votes for Village ***** than he did for NFL Executive of the Year. Bypassing Bush for Williams was considered Ryan Leaf-like lunacy.

"At least people believed in Ryan Leaf,'' said Casserly, who resigned shortly after the 2006 draft and now works for CBS. "Half the league would have taken Leaf [over Peyton Manning]. But we believed in what we were doing at the time. Now, I think people see what we saw then.''

Fourteen games into his second season, Williams is a blossoming star. He is second in the league in sacks with 13 and leads all NFL defensive ends in tackles.

Bush, meanwhile, who was taken by the Saints with the second pick in that draft, is not playing at all like a once-in-a-decade running back. Forced to be a carry-the-load running back after Deuce McAllister went down in Week 3 with a season-ending injury, Bush is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per reception. Mr. Big Play has become Mr. Small Play.

"We had some questions about whether you could line Reggie up and play him every snap as a runner,'' Casserly said. "We did think he had big-play ability and did think he could have a role on the team. But would you have to have another back with him? That became a question.''
Quote:
Bush is 6-foot and 200 pounds, which is 2 inches taller and about the same weight as the Eagles' Brian Westbrook, who also faced is-he-an-every-down-back questions when he came into the league. But Bush has a thinner lower body than Westbrook. His lower body resembles that of a wide receiver more than a running back. He also doesn't have near the leg strength that Westbrook does.

Casserly and the Texans felt they could get a running back later in the draft or even in free agency. They didn't think they could get a 6-7, 290-pound defensive end with 4.65 speed like Williams anywhere else.

"We were switching to a 4-3 from a 3-4 and needed a defensive end who could be a force,'' Casserly said. "When you're playing a four-man front, you've got to have a guy you can build that defense around. You saw the impact Reggie White had. I'm not trying to compare this kid to Reggie. But you've got to have that kind of guy in your defensive line. Somebody that people have to game plan against.''

Casserly scouted Williams several times in person and watched endless tape. He didn't see the inconsistent motor that many other scouts saw.

"I thought he played hard in every game I saw him play,'' he said. "What happens with a defensive lineman is, you can go stretches where you don't make any plays. You're playing hard, you're beating your man, but the ball might be going away from you or you just don't make the play."
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