Williams, “Super” Mario

Card: Press Pass 2006
Acquired: TTM 2009, Texans Blitz
See Also: Williams, “Super” Mario (2)

Mario Williams- The #1 overall pick of the 2006 draft was met with a lot of groans and guffaws when Mario took the stage that year, and the Houston Texans were labeled as fools for not taking either USC runningback Reggie Bush or hometown quarterback Vince Young. Much of the pundits were in shock over the selection made by the team, because the knock on Williams was that he took a play off now and then.  At 6’7″, 295,  he ran a pedestrian 4.66 40, but impressed the Texans’ staff with his strength and work ethic.  The fans were split, wanting hometown and University of Texas star Vince Young or electric offensive dynamo Reggie Bush. Mario Williams was not on anybody’s radar. The Texans insisted that he was their guy because they wanted a full-time player, and the team already had a quarterback at the time (David Carr). (In addition, it did not help that when it came down to financial negotiations, it was rumored that Reggie Bush’s camp floated a high number and refused to budge.) There would be severe fallout from the pick and Mario would be roundly criticized. New Orleans would draft Bush and Young would go to the turncoat Titans. The Texans would circle their wagons and shelter their #1 selection from the criticism while cranking up the public relations machine.

Because of a plantars facitis, Mario’s rookie season was not considered a good one, however in 2007 he went out and proved the league wrong, when he singlehandedly crushed the Denver Broncos in primetime. He’d dominate teams running at full speed and make 14 sacks that season, following up in 2008 with 12 more. Williams 2009 and 10 seasons have not been as super, with injuries piling up and a nagging groin injury. Regardless Williams has still managed to make 17.5 sacks over those two seasons. Critics however, have pointed to the sacks coming in ‘garbage time’, which is an unfair assessment due to Williams being frequently double teamed. In the short time that he has been with the young Texans’ franchise, Mario has already established himself as the franchise’s all time sack leader and holds the single season record with the 14 sack effort he had in 2007.

Unfortunately Williams will always have to live up to the comparisons made between him,Vince Young, and Reggie Bush- all playmakers in their own right, but the overwhelming scrutiny will always be there, even though Williams is a 3 time Pro Bowler and 2 time AP. With many members of the 2006 draft now switching teams or under tremendous scrutiny, Mario has endured and continued to perform under the constant stress of being the overall #1 pick of the draft.  As the Texans transform their defense to a 3-4 alignment after the 2011 draft, new coordinator Wade Phillips has confirmed that he will move Mario around the line of scrimmage and perhaps utilize him in a 2 point stance, drawing comparisons to the changes Phillips installed in Buffalo transforming Bruce Smith into a 3-4 defensive end.

G 77     Sac 48      Tac 230    Fum 10    Int 0    Yds 0    Avg -.-    Td 0     lg -.-