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Monday, April 24, 2006

In Crack-Induced Haze, ESPN's Michael Smith Writes That The Texans Should Take Mario Williams Over Reggie Bush

I love ESPN's Michael Smith. At Super Bowl XL in Detroit I asked him who his favorite team was "No one. None of 'em" was his quick witted response. I also enjoy his straight on conversational take on the NFL's Minority Hiring Problem.

But I don't agree with his latest column, which goes like this:

"Let me begin by assuring you that, to my knowledge, I never have suffered a head injury, not even a minor one. I've never used/abused recreational or prescription drugs. And it has been well over a week since I last consumed any alcohol. Also rest assured that when I wrote the following, I did so with a straight face.

With the first pick of the 2006 NFL draft, the Houston Texans should not select running back Reggie Bush of Southern California. And my reason has nothing to do with the recent report that his family allegedly accepted extra benefits during Bush's junior season.

And sorry, Houstonians, this isn't another plea for the Texans to pass over Bush in favor of University of Texas quarterback (and hometown hero) Vince Young.

They shouldn't trade down, either, or they might miss out on the player they should take. Mario Williams, the North Carolina State defensive end, should be the Texans' pick.

Choosing Williams over Bush is the smart choice if not the most popular. It isn't that Williams is the better player; a college scouting director whom I swear by told me that Bush is the best player he's ever evaluated, that Bush received a rating one point below perfect on his scale, while Williams graded out one point behind Bush. So I believe the Texans are in fact torn between Bush and Williams, whom they have rated equally atop their draft board."

The statistic that only four Super Bowl winners had running backs drafted in the first round is misleading. Yes, offense sells tickets and defense wins championships, but the vast majority of Super Bowl winners have had record-setting defenses made up of a collection of mid-first round and mostly-late round draft choices. Plus, the stat leads the uninformed and unsophistocated person to assume that every Super Bowl winner was able to draft a running back with the first pick in the first round.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: Mario Williams will never be the difference maker that Reggie Williams can be because a team can game plan to go away from him. They cvan use his speed against him. And as long as there are other weaknesses on the Texans defense, one player will not make the difference.

But a defense that keys on Reggie Bush can be hurt by play-action. Nuff said. That defense will then have the chore of just trying to catch lightining in a bottle. What Smith and others forget is this: speed kills.

In this election, I vote for Bush.


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