Texans on Track To Have Historic First-Round Tandem With C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr.
In the modern NFL Draft history, only three teams have had two picks inside the top three.
The Colts didn’t convert on that potential in 1992. Washington converted on that potential in 2000. But the Houston Texans might end up having one of the best first-round pick tandems of all time from the 2023 NFL Draft.
At No. 2 overall, the Texans took Stroud. At No. 3 overall, they took Anderson And already, both players have become transformative forces on opposite sides of the line.
Stroud’s success has been well-documented. The Ohio State product is already in the driver’s seat for Offensive Rookie of the Year and is a fringe MVP candidate.
Stroud came into Week 13 with 3,266 yards, 19 touchdowns, and five picks, and he turned in another rock-solid performance against Denver, completing 16 of 27 passes for 274 yards and a score.
But Anderson’s impact has, at times, gone under the radar due to his lower sack numbers. The pressure hasn’t always converted to quarterback takedowns, but Anderson has been an absolute force of carnage on Houston’s defensive line.
At 6’3″, 253 pounds, with 34″ arms, Anderson has the size and explosiveness to form an overwhelming power profile, and his hyperactive playmaking motor only makes him more dangerous on a down-to-down basis for offensive linemen.
In Week 13 against the Broncos, Anderson finally got the production necessary to win over the casual viewer. He helped block a punt earlier in the game and notched two sacks with his relentless rushing ability.
In different ways — and on different sides of the ball — Stroud and Anderson have transformed their respective units.
Obviously, Stroud takes more precedence as a QB. It’s the most important position in the sport, and it’s the position that sets the offense’s direction. Already, Stroud has the poise of a veteran and the playmaking ability and accuracy of a league-leading passer.
On the defensive side of the ball, however, Anderson’s impact has been extremely meaningful in its own right as an alignment-versatile power plant and disruption machine.
It’s far too early to make any definitive statements about this rookie duo, but right now, it’s easy to see that both are major factors in the team’s playoff push. Houston is 7-5 after a win against Denver and is in the thick of the Wild Card race for the AFC playoff field.
The Texans aren’t just over-achieving in Year 1 under DeMeco Ryans. They’re already good. They’re getting better every week, and Stroud and Anderson are two major reasons why.
If Stroud and Anderson keep pace and keep developing on this rapid trajectory, they could go on to be one of the best first-round pick tandems in modern NFL history.
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