What initially seemed to be a predictable rookie draft actually turned into one with much intrigue and surprise. The organization with the overall first selection, the Houston Texans, had been widely believed to have its sights set on selecting USC running back, and Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush. The dynamic playmaker seemed to be just the answer for an organization that had struggled to generate points, or excitement, in it first four years in existence. Adding to the drama, many Houstonians were hoping that the team would select University of Texas standout quarterback, and Rose Bowl hero, Vince Young บอล.
However, in the days leading to the draft, the Texans organization reiterated their commitment to franchise quarterback, David Carr and announced that they would not be selecting Young with the first pick. With Young out of the picture, the team began contract negotiations with Bush and North Carolina St. defensive end, Mario Williams. Williams was thought to be a “can’t miss” defensive prospect in the mold of Julius Peppers, or even the legendary, Reggie White. But with Bush being touted as a “once in a lifetime” player, it appeared that Williams was just being used as a bluff in negotiations with Bush.
Unable to come to agreement with Bush and his representatives, hours before the draft, the Houston Texans announced that they had an agreement in place with Mario Williams, and that he would the #1 selection in the 2006 NFL draft. NFL fans were shocked, analysts were stunned and Texans fans were downright angry. For a team that needed offense and excitement, Bush seemed to be the only choice, regardless of the price. Texans’ management immediately began to justify and put a spin on their decision to take Williams, and insisted that the defensive stud was whom the team needed to build around, and that the decision was not strictly a financial one.
After the Texans passed on him, Reggie Bush landed in the laps of the long-suffering New Orleans Saints. As nobody had seriously anticipated Bush being passed over by the Texans, this may have been the greatest day in franchise history. A sense of hope was restored to a city that had never had a winning football team and was recently devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
The third pick in the draft, owned by the Tennessee Titans, also had a bit of mystery and subplot attached to it. The team refused to re-sign veteran quarterback Steve McNair to a long-term contract and it was generally accepted that they would build the future of the team around a quarterback with that third draft pick. The question was, would it be Vince Young (a favorite of owner, Bud Adams) or USC quarterback, Matt Leinart (a favorite, and former pupil, of offensive coordinator, Norm Chowd). In the end, the man signing the checks won out, and the Titans selected Vince Young. Back in Houston, many people believed that this was just another example of Adams rubbing their noses in the dirt, much like he did when he moved the city’s beloved Houston Oilers to Tennessee in 1997. Finally, in what was largely considered the biggest surprise of the entire draft, Matt Leinart was not selected until the tenth pick, falling to the Arizona Cardinals.