While the NFL community expected the Carolina Panthers to select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young No. 1 overall after school pro days wrapped up, the Houston Texans were a complete unknown until an hour before the 2023 NFL Draft officially kicked off. With the No. 2 overall pick, the Texans selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.
We’re diving into what led the Texans to select Stroud as their next franchise quarterback and why the franchise fed into a chaotic draft process.
Texans Draft QB C.J. Stroud No. 2 Overall
The Texans did well to keep the entire NFL at bay throughout the entire offseason. After a last-second, shocking win in Week 18 that caused them to miss out on the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the team was speculated to draft every top quarterback to a slew of top defenders. Sportsbooks and insiders never had a good pulse on what the team planned on doing until Stroud became the heavy betting favorite shortly before the draft.
There could be a good reason for that. According to Yahoo Sports’ insider Charles Robinson, sources believed the Texans would take Will Anderson No. 2 and then trade back up for Stroud. However, with the Tennessee Titans aggressively looking to trade up, the Texans realized they’d either take Stroud at No. 2 or miss on him completely.
Stroud, an impressive pocket passer who saved the best game of his college career for his final performance against Georgia, endured a rough draft process. He reportedly bombed the S2 Cognition test and faced criticism for being “difficult to coach.” NFL Network Insider Peter Schrager went so far as to report the Texans wouldn’t draft Stroud because he has the same agent as former Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
At the end of the day, the Texans are trusting their evaluation process. The decision to build around arguably the best thrower in the class is justifiable but the process of how they got to this point is questionable. As we’ve seen throughout Texans’ general manager Nick Caserio tenure with the franchise, he beats to his own drum.
Whether Houston always loved Stroud and were in lock-step on drafting him or if ownership intervened after blowback around Will Levis’ name rose throughout the week doesn’t matter now. Houston was justified in exploring whether they could pull off a miracle by grabbing Anderson and Stroud, even if it seemed sloppy as outsiders.
First-time head coach DeMeco Ryans will now build his offense around Stroud’s excellent accuracy and running back Dameon Pierce’s bruising talent. For the first time in several years, Houston has hope.
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