Shocker!

In what has wound up as a stunning turn of events, the Houston Texans have agreed to terms with Mario Williams and will make the N.C. State defensive end the No. 1 pick in Saturday's draft.

FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer is reporting that it is a five-year deal with an option for a sixth worth $26.5 in guaranteed money, but that could go well over $60 million in bonuses provided that Williams performs at a certain level.

Another fact to consider is that the state of Texas has no state income tax, which drives the actual value of the deal even higher.

The deal has not yet been signed. Williams' agents are examining the actual contract and taking a detailed look at its language.

"This is a decision that took a lot of time to make, but at the end of the day we felt this was the best player for our football team," Texans general manager Charley Casserly told the Associated Press. "Both players, Reggie Bush and Mario Williams, are going to, I think, be great pros. We made the decision to go with defense."

The deal has not yet been signed. Williams' agents are examining the actual contract and taking a detailed look at its language.

FOXSports.com first reported late Friday afternoon that the Texans had told Williams' representatives that he was their choice and that the negotiations with the two sides had intensified.

Houston started negotiating with both Williams and Bush this week. While many expected the Southern California star to be the Texans' choice, they instead went for the North Carolina State lineman.

"I think if people had just listened to what we had said, they would have seen that we were serious about Mario Williams," Casserly explained to the AP. "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."

Bush has been embroiled in some controversy this week concerning who paid the rent for a home his parents lived in and whether an agent was involved — which would be an NCAA rules violation. Casserly told the AP that the recent controvery had nothing to do with the Texans' decision to not draft Bush: "We believe in Reggie Bush as a person. We asked him and his attorney the different allegations and both of the denied them. Both of them said that Reggie didn't do anything wrong so we obviously took him at his word."

Still, it took all the suspense out of how Saturday's draft would start.

His 2005 season will go down as one of the greatest in N.C. State history by a defensive end.

The Texans' move left the New Orleans Saints with an opportunity to take Bush with the No. 2 pick.

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.

The Texans have spent their past four first-round draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle Travis Johnson was the 16th overall selection in 2005, and cornerback Dunta Robinson and linebacker Jason Babin were taken with the 10th and 27th picks, respectively, in the 2004 draft.

Williams becomes the first N.C. State player to be taken with the first pick in the NFL draft.

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 N.C. 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 surely will help a Texans defense that ranked 31st total defense last season; 32nd against the rush and 24th against the pass. Team officials like Williams because the Texans have lacked a legitimate pass rusher the last two seasons with the declining health and productivity of two-time Pro-Bowl defensive end Gary Walker. Houston recently released the 11-year veteran.

The Associated Press has contributed to this report.


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