Passing on Reggie Bush: Charley Casserly’s Greatest Call of All

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.”

Chicago Sun times described the pick with the phrase, “for God’s sake. . .
SF Gate said the pick should be “second-guessed. . .ad nauseum.”

The Chicago Tribune called Williams a “workout marvel” whose selection “should be questioned extensively.” 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.



  1. Hermano

    One point worth mentioning–the marketing impact of Reggie Bush. Mario Williams has been a nice player, but the Texans have not been able to build season ticket campaigns and jersey sales around Williams the way they could have around Bush. Also, despite Steve Slaton’s 2008 numbers, by and large the RB position has been a large void in the Texans offense.
    While substance over style might have translated to a slightly better team on the field (a point which is highly specious given the different impacts of a RB/RET vs. DL), off the field, quite the opposite is the case. The Texans missed out on a chance to increase their revenue streams by latching on to Reggie Bush and promoting him as the face of the franchise. Instead, Williams is at best the fifth most recognized player in Houston (Johnson, Schaub, Cushing, Slaton/Daniels/Walters).

    • D-Bridge

      Hermano –

      The Texans have sold out every single game in their existence, Reggie would not have made them build extra seats and sell extra tickets.

      Revenue from jersey sales are shared among teams, the Texans would not have benifited from the sales any more than they do now.

      The problem with the Texans’ running game has been injuries to the OL, last year there was pretty much a new front 5 each week.

      Reggie would not have been more recognized than Schaub, Andre, Cushing or Demeco. So if you want to place Mario at #5, which is debatable… the highest you’d place Reggie would be #5. Unless your just talking about the casual football fan, which quite frankly is pointless.

      Mario was the best pick at #1 then, and he continues to be the best of “The Top 3” from that year.

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  3. Texan in VT

    Please never EVER make this mistake again. Charlie Casserly did NOT make the call to draft Mario. When Houston signed Kubiak they gave him the power makes the calls and the GM (Rick Smith now) just makes them happen. The Mario pick was KUBIAK.

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