Sep 4, 2006

Mario vs. Bush

How ironic is it that Texans RB Domanack Davis is injured and will miss the entire 2006 season, when we consider that they could have picked Reggie Bush with the first overall pick?

From the first shocking moments when I heard that Houston would go with Mario Williams over Reggie Bush, I was lamenting it. Not because I care about Houston or New Orleans, but I see the Saints as the Expos of the NFL. And I didn't want to see Bush waste his awesome talent in a dead football area.

Houston made so many mistakes. Not to mention that Bush was the best player available, but also that they could've had Mario later in the draft while using the #1 pick to trade for additional picks. I know Houston's D was horrible, but trade down and you still get Mario, or AJ Hawk, or Ngata, or Bunkley, or D'Brick to help that horrendous O-line. And then they get another pick to use however they want. Mario is a great athlete with tremendous potential, but a large portion of his sacks last season came (I believe) during a 3 game stretch against sub .500 teams.

There are so many ways to praise Reggie Bush. He's had a few plays this pre-season that were astounding; it seems like he can defy physics, things we haven't seen since Barry Sanders. We all know about his physical talent, but he's also just 21 years old! And he rarely carried the ball more than 15 times a game. I'm aware some skeptics see this as inexperience or lack of durability, but I see it as fresh legs. You don't want your RB to average 25 carries in college through his senior year. He could wear out in 5 seasons. Bush should have energy for at least 10. And don't forget that he's never had a major injury.

Another knock against Bush was that he benefited from a great O-line. This may be true, but while the line at times made Bush look good, Bush at times made the O-line look good in return (a great point I read on some other site, maybe TSN).

Let's not forget the versatility that Bush brings to the table: namely name his pass-catching and kick return abilities. Some analyst said that if Bush entered the draft as a receiver, he'd still be a top 10 pick. He has great hands and runs routes well; what linebacker could cover him? Or even what safety? Bush also returned kick-offs at USC; so Bush could essentially be used at 3 NFL positions! What a weapon he is. When a guy is that versatile, it enables the team to address other areas of need, a major selling point.

Saints season ticket sales shot up when they drafted Bush. He brings instant excitement and prestige to New Orleans and it's fanbase; he was the most famous college athlete of 2005, the Heisman winner, a national champion, and he played in Los Angeles. Mario played for a .500 team in North Carolina, not exactly Hollywood for college football.

to sum up Reggie Bush:
1. ridiculous athletic ability
2. not overused in college; if anything underused
3. extremely versatile
4. instant prestige

Houston made a huge mistake by taking Mario Williams #1. Yes, it's possible he becomes the next Reggie White or Bruce Smith, but they missed out on a sure thing with Bush (and at least could have gained another pick while still taking Mario).

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