Monday, May 01, 2006

NFL Draft

I was pretty busy Friday night (more on that in a future post,) so I was stunned to get home and see the headline that the Houston Texans were taking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush with the top pick in this year's draft. Sure I had heard that the Texans were negotiating with both players. I knew there were pundits saying that new Texan head coach Gary Kubiak did not view running back as a make-or-break position (if Olandis Gary can run for 1100+ yards in Kubiak's system, etc.) but I didn't take any of it very seriously. Apparently the only people who thought that it could even make sense to pick somebody over Reggie Bush were the Texans' front office.

Now don't get me wrong. Mario Williams will probably be a good defensive end. Eventually. Even if he wound up being a great defensive end, this was a big mistake. There is no position in football where a team must have the best player in order to win. Teams can win Super Bowls with average quarterbacks and they can certainly win with average running backs. It proves nothing. A player like Reggie Bush only comes along maybe every 10-15 years. He could have turned the Texans into an elite offense. He would have turned David Carr into a pro-bowl quarterback, thus validating him as the top pick from a couple of years ago. He would not have brought them a Super Bowl on his own. That cannot be done in football. But he would have improved their team dramatically, and given them the center piece to build around for years and years to come.

Not convinced that Bush could have had such effects? Enter Exhibit A, Scott Mitchell. In 1995, Mitchell threw for 4338 yards and 32 touchdowns. He ranked second in passing yards and third in touchdowns. From 1994-1997, he averaged 3547 yards and 23 tds per 16 games played. All this depite having poor leadership abilities and decision making, being big and slow, and not even having a great arm (especially given his size.) But he had Barry Sanders. Every team that faced Detroit planned for Barry Sanders. That's what it would have been like for David Carr with Reggie Bush. Carr is already a better quarterback than Scott Mitchell, but Carr has averaged 2833 yds and 13 tds per 16 games played in his career. The Texans actually had a pretty good run offense last year, but they did not have Reggie Bush. And they won't next year either. So don't be looking for 4388 yards and especially not 32 touchdowns from Carr.

Of course Carr's biggest problem has been sacks. Want to slow down a pass rush? Just run a draw to Bush. You only have to do it once. You could probably get away with just faking it once actually. Or throw a screen pass to Bush. That will do the trick, too. It's not going to make up for a completely porous O-line, but it will slow down the pass rush.

So what now for Bush? He gets to lead New Orleans back into New Orleans. The Saints could become the ultimate feel-good story next year. Bush can "call his shot" like Babe Ruth, promising to score a touchdown for some homeless kid whose parents lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. People in New Orleans might even forget about FEMA finally.

As for Houston... Something happens to teams who do really dumb things. It took Boston 80+ years to overcome trading Babe Ruth. The Portland Trailblazers are not even close to overcoming passing up Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie. Meanwhile, Houston's old team picked up Houston-native, national champion/hero Vince Young and Lendale White on Saturday. Coincidence? Hard to say. All I can suggest for Houston is that they make a list of all the bad things they have done and start trying to come clean. It may be the only way to appease karma.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice colors. Keep up the good work. thnx!