Four and one-half years ago, Houston Texans General Manager Charley Casserly made what was considered at the time the biggest NFL draft gaffe of the decade. . .and possibly ever.
Instead of drafting one of the two main Heisman finalists, either of whom was “clearly” an NFL superstar in the waiting. . .the man chose unheralded North Carolina State DE Mario Williams.
The combine wunderkind wowed scouts with his ‘tools’ – “there may not be a better physical specimen at any position in the draft” – but did not do much at NC State to warrant being a top pick. In any case, from the moment Casserly signed the deal to draft Williams first, he was universally panned:
CBS Sports called the selection of Williams the “worst pick in the Draft.”
Washington Post called it “a very surprising move.”
Austin American-Statesman said that he “better be a force right away. . .or fans will start chanting Reggie, Reggie or Vince, Vince.”
Even the hometown Houston Chronicle could NOT believe that the pick actually happened.
Sports-Central said Williams will be known as “the guy taken before Reggie Bush.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch called the pick a “failure. . .ranking with the all-time blunders.”
The Chicago Tribune called Williams a “workout marvel” whose selection “should be questioned extensively.”
SI.com questioned his on-field ability, which paled in comparison to his workout pedigree.
This is by no means a slam dunk, as while Bush has disappointed. . .he has not disappeared. He’s a modern day Eric Metcalf, a nice weapon on third-down and kick returns with the occasional change of pace carry from the backfield
Williams, on the other hand, is a perennial Pro Bowler that has proven Charlie Casserly to be well ahead of his time, and quite the visionary. Kudos, CC.