Mario Signs With Houston...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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Texans sign Williams

HOUSTON - The Houston Texans have signed North Carolina State DE Mario Williams and plan to take him with the first overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Williams becomes the second Texans number one pick in team history.

Williams (6-6, 291) becomes the first North Carolina State player to be taken with the first pick in the NFL draft. QB Roman Gabriel was the top overall pick of the AFL draft and went second overall in the NFL draft in 1962.

In three seasons for the Wolfpack, Williams started 34 of 36 games. He totaled 175 tackles, 55.5 tackles for loss and 26.5 sacks. His 2005 season will go down as one of the greatest in NC State history by a defensive end. He set school records in sacks, with 14.5, and tackles for loss, with 27.5. Williams’ sack total ranked fourth nationally and he finished second in tackles for loss.

Williams earned Freshman All-America honors in 2003 after recording 56 tackles (34 solos), five sacks, 13 tackles for loss, seven quarterback pressures, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. As a junior in 2005, he was voted the Wolfpack’s Most Valuable Player by his teammates and was a consensus All-American.

Williams, who hails from Richlands, N.C., has been compared by many to Carolina DE Julius Peppers, who was drafted second overall in 2002. Following a stellar prep career at Richlands High School where he was an All-State and All-South selection, Williams’ high school jersey (number 82) was retired.

The Texans have spent their past four first round draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. DT Travis Johnson was the 16 th overall selection in 2005, and CB Dunta Robinson and LB Jason Babin were taken with the 10 th and 27 th in the 2004 draft. The Texans’ first pair of first-round picks were offensive players—QB David Carr in 2002 (1 st overall) and WR Andre Johnson in 2003 (3 rd overall).

Williams’ signing marks the second time that the Texans have had their first-round pick signed before the draft. QB David Carr agreed to a contract prior to becoming the Texans’ first-ever draft choice in 2002. The Texans felt that agreeing to terms with the top pick was important in order to ensure that the player will begin training camp along with the rest of the team.

April 28, 2006, 7:30PM

Texans to draft Mario Williams

Houston signs North Carolina State defensive end to $22 million deal

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

NEW YORK -- In a stunning move that will reverberate through the first round of Saturday's NFL draft, the Texans have signed North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams to a contract, meaning he'll be the first player selected.

By signing Williams to a contract that will guarantee him almost $22 million this year, the Texans turned their back on Southern California running back Reggie Bush as well as University of Texas quarterback Vince Young.

Williams' agent, Ben Dogra, didn't become seriously involved in negotiations until Wednesday night when he was convinced the Texans weren't using his client as leverage against Bush.

Dogra, who also represents Longhorns' cornerback Michael Huff, exchanged proposals with vice president of administration Dan Ferens, the chief negotiator, as the clocked ticked down to this weekend's draft.

Williams, 6-7, 295, had an exceptional performance at the Indianapolis scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.70, bench pressing 225 pounds 35 times and having a vertical leap of 40 inches.

Although the Texans said the controversy involving Bush and his parents' living arrangements in San Diego had nothing to do with their decision, they intensified negotiations with Dogra on Thursday and worked all day Friday to complete the deal.
Here is a chat transcript of the Casserly interview post Mario signing...

Charley Casserly press conference transcript

(April 28, 2006) -- (Opening Statement) "We've come to a signed agreement with Mario Williams; he'll be our first pick in this year's draft. It is a six-year contract. Obviously we're excited about it. It's a decision that took us a lot of time to make, but at the end of the day we felt this was the best player for our football team. Both players, Reggie Bush and Mario Williams I think are going to be great pros but we made the decision to go with defense."

(on why they decided on Mario Williams) "Dan Ferens, our negotiator, who did a great job with us by the way, started on Monday negotiating with both sides. We said we would come to a decision at some point this week. Yesterday we made the decision let's go to Mario Williams. If we can get Mario Williams signed, then we're going to take him. That was the directive that we gave his agent. In the last 24 hours we were able to close a deal and it's a good deal for both sides. But, Mario Williams was going to be our first choice in this draft."

(on signability being an issue) "Not at all. We were confident we could reach a deal with Reggie Bush too."

(on what put Williams over the top) "We decided to go with defense as opposed to offense. Our pass rush hasn't been what it needs to be. Mario Williams can give you a pass rush from the defensive end position and the defensive tackle position. He can play all four defensive line positions. We think Mario is a guy that will still continue to grow physically, he's 290 now and he'll play at over 300 pounds. He's fast, he's quick, and he's athletic. The guy, in our opinion, is a natural pass rusher and can play the run."

(on not letting pressure play a role in selecting Williams) "I think obviously the Vince Young popularity here is understandable and I can understand Reggie Bush. But I think if people had just listened to what we had said, they would have seen that we were serious about Mario Williams. When we brought Mario Williams in here for a visit, and we were serious about Mario Williams long before that, it's just we were never going to tell anybody that. We weren't going to deny it, but nobody asked the question and I understand why they wouldn't ask the question early on. But once we brought him in here our statements never changed that we were seriously considering him for the first pick in the draft and I understand that people didn't believe it, but we always said it and we believed it."

(on the deal) "The deal is six years, $54 million dollars, $26.5 is guaranteed."

(on the off the field controversy with Bush affecting the decision) "Absolutely not. We believe in Reggie Bush as a person. We asked him and his attorney the different allegations and both of them denied them. Both of them said that Reggie didn't do anything wrong, so we obviously took him at his word, which is what we should do. But none of that had anything to do with that. We told them this was strictly a football decision. We wanted to get a defensive end."

(on winning overriding everything) "Winning overrides everything. We have to win games. And let me say this, we think Mario Williams is going to be a terrific player in this league, but one player doesn't win a game and a championship, you have to have a team. We have to add more players in the draft tomorrow, which we will, they will be good players and they will help this football team to go with the players we got in the offseason. I think we had a great offseason but we're building a football team here to win and one player is only a part of the team. Andre Johnson is one part of the puzzle; David Carr is part of the puzzle."

(on getting the job done before Saturday) "I think more so to get it done, yes, to get it done before it comes absolutely. And I think it's a credit to Bob McNair. Bob McNair is the one that made this happen. He is the one that makes the financial commitment to get this done and he is the one that should be congratulated. But it's huge because what it does is it gets it behind you and it's not a distraction when it comes July for the player or the team. The player now is totally focused on him becoming the best player he can be."

(on getting everyone in the organization on the same page) "I think the key there is ownership, because ownership is the one that has to endorse this, and Bob (McNair) was very open. He said, ‘You and Gary (Kubiak) tell me what you think is best for the football team.' Obviously, within the staff, you had some people that liked Reggie Bush and some people that liked Mario Williams, but everyone was unanimous that both of these players were worth the first pick in the draft. Then it comes down to offense and defense, and at the end of the day, Gary and I separately came up to the same conclusion, and I told Bob and Bob endorsed it enthusiastically."

(on the statement that this signing makes about the team's confidence in Domanick Davis) "It's something that probably wasn't talked enough about in the process—outside the building; it was talked about in the building—we have a young man here who, in three years here has averaged 1,000 yards a year. Now, he's coming off a knee injury, but the bottom line is he's going to be here and he's going to play, so you've got a player already there that's proven.

"We're going to the 4-3 defense. We didn't have any defensive ends when we came into the offseason, so we added Anthony Weaver. We add Mario Williams. Now, our coaches will figure out what our best combination is. We're going to get all our best players on the field. Antwan Peek's still going to be on the field. So we're going to find a way to get our best combination, but it was clearly a position of greater need than running back on our team."

(on what he saw in Williams) "What I liked about the guy, I saw the guy play Florida State during the season; I had watched tape on him at that point; I watched subsequent tape after the season was over, and I saw a guy who was the same in every tape I watched. The guy was a factor. The guy got off the ball quick. He pressured the quarterback. He's strong at the point of attack. He pursued and made plays sideline to sideline. He had flexibility to play every one of the positions (on the defensive line). I saw a guy that was a factor in ball games."

"When I went ahead and projected him ahead to our league, I thought the guy had an upside. He's still a young guy, he's still learning how to play, and he was going to get bigger, so this is a guy that to me personally -- and all our people did -- from the first tape I looked at him, I thought the guy was going to be an excellent prospect. One of the things in watching him, I didn't know how big he was. I'm watching tape and I thought he was 265 pounds. And at that point, we're in a 3-4 defense and I'm thinking, 'Can this guy play linebacker?' Then I looked at the program and he was 290. Honestly, I thought the guy was about 260 when I watched him. That's how good of an athlete he was."

"Now let me say this about the young man: this is a guy that, I don't like to compare players, but I made a statement that this guy is Andre Johnson. This guy is a great human being, a great worker who loves football. There are not many people I compare Andre Johnson to as a person, and I think that's what you have here. I think this guy will come in here and be focused on one thing -- playing football. And I think that's important."
I'm actually a little stunned by this development.

Tomorrow is really going to be fun.
I couldn't sleep, lol. I'm amped up, man. Let's blow this shit up.
Crow said:
I couldn't sleep, lol. I'm amped up, man. Let's blow this shit up.
D'Brick is smiling. The JETS gonna take him. :eek:
We're on the clock. Who's scared?
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