Houston Texans NFL Draft Grades 2023: Texans Make C.J. Stroud Face of the Franchise, Draft Henry To’oTo’o and Dylan Horton

    What are the Houston Texans' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

    Nobody had more 2023 NFL Draft capital to spend than the Houston Texans. Nick Caserio and Co. still had a lot of work to do filling holes along the roster, but no franchise was a bigger wild card heading into the three-day event. How did the Texans grade out on their 2023 NFL Draft?

    Houston Texans NFL Draft Grades

    Round 1, Pick 2: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

    The Texans took a long way around the block to get here, but they finally got to their destination. C.J. Stroud played his best football at the end of the season against Michigan and Georgia. He has shown outstanding playmaking ability as a playmaker in spurts, but to reach his ceiling as a passer and push to be one of the league’s top QBs, he needs to be a more consistent playmaker.

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    Stroud is a good processor and unquestionably the most accurate passer in the 2023 NFL Draft class. There are a ton of ways the Texans could have went here, but none made sense aside from taking a QB. It’ll be years before we know how well the decision worked out, but the process behind the pick was sound.

    Grade: A

    Round 1, Pick 3: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

    Will Anderson Jr. was arguably the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Texans absolutely needed help on the edge defensively, and they made sure to go and get the best one in the class.

    For a while, we believed that Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans would prefer Tyree Wilson because of his size, power, and athleticism. But Anderson Jr. is simply too complete of a player to pass on. He is a fantastic athlete who is a strong pass rusher and an unbelievable run defender, particularly for his size.

    Grade: B+

    Round 2, Pick 62: Juice Scruggs, C, Penn State

    Juice Scruggs doesn’t possess the high-end athleticism that many teams look for in a modern-day center, but Scruggs can get downhill and be a factor in the run game and as a pass protector. Scruggs anchors well as a pass protector.

    Houston needed an upgrade from Scott Quessenberry. The Texans now boast a really solid unit from left to right that should help protect their rookie QB. Although it’s a bit ironic to see an Ohio State QB taking snaps from a Penn State center, there’s no doubt the two’s rivalry will only come one Saturday every year from now on.

    Although the center class wasn’t incredibly deep, it was surprising to see Scruggs go so early. But if he is a starter from Day 1, nobody will question the pick.

    Grade: C+

    Round 3, Pick 69: Tank Dell, WR, Houston

    All Tank Dell did at Houston is produce. Now, he’ll move from a dorm room or apartment in Houston into a nice estate in Houston as a Texan. Dell is immediately one of the smallest receivers in the NFL, but his quickness is unbelievable. His start/stop ability, along with an extra gear when tracking the ball, makes him a dangerous three-level threat.

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    The Texans need to fill the roster with a few pass catchers for Stroud. It would have been perfect to see Stroud matched up with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but DeMeco Ryans needed to go get Anderson to come off the edge. After a run of receivers on Day 2, Houston takes a size outlier with a ton of ability.

    Grade: B-

    Round 4, Pick 109: Dylan Horton, EDGE, TCU

    The Texans needed to take a swing on the defensive line on Day 3, and Dylan Horton is just that. He should offer run-defending upside immediately while they mold his pass-rushing technique.

    Grade: A-

    Round 5, Pick 167: Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama

    Snagging Henry To’oTo’o in the fifth round to pair with former teammate Christian Harris is an outstanding match. The value was there with the LB, and the relationship with Harris should smooth his transition as a backup with developmental traits.

    Grade: A

    Round 6, Pick 201: Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame

    Jarrett Patterson’s time playing guard for Notre Dame in his final collegiate season may be what got him drafted. Without the experience of playing multiple positions, the Texans may not have pulled the trigger. Nevertheless, Patterson is an experienced blocker who is limited by his lack of length and underwhelming athleticism.

    Grade: C

    Round 6, Pick 205: Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State

    Although Xavier Hutchinson lacks the sort of trump card that gets receivers drafted early, the Iowa State WR is simply a good football player who should compete for snaps early in his career as a Texan.

    Grade: B+

    Round 7, Pick 248: Brandon Hill, S, Pittsburgh

    Brandon Hill is a bit undersized, but he is incredibly explosive on the stopwatch and on the field. He needs to improve his awareness on the back end, but he’s great value here in Round 7.

    Grade: A

    What Were the Texans’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

    • QB, EDGE, WR, C, CB

    The Houston Texans will draft the second quarterback off the board. Jerry Hughes and Jonathan Greenard aren’t a horrible starting duo, but adding a few short-term veterans while drafting one of the seemingly infinite athletic freaks in the draft class to develop would be wise.

    An alpha wide receiver is a massive need, but it’s unlikely Houston can address that issue this offseason. The group Houston has gathered can produce well enough, but getting a legitimate difference-maker could make all the difference for their young QB.

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