Did Texans Owner Cal McNair Force Hand on Stroud? Examining the Evidence

2023 NFL Draft - Portraits
2023 NFL Draft - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages
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The Houston Texans just wrapped up the boldest draft in franchise history with a record nine trades to get players in the draft. Most notable was the trade-up to acquire Will Anderson Jr. but the selection before that was a bigger surprise. Leading up to the draft, the Texans were not heavy favorites to draft C.J. Stroud; however, in the hours leading up to the draft, they became the betting odds favorite to select the Ohio State signal-caller.

All off-season, we heard several rumors about the Texans' draft plans. Very rarely did we hear anything of them desiring Stroud. We knew they loved Bryce Young, and we knew they loved Will Anderson Jr. Was this a continued elaboration of the smoke screen or did the conversation about the number two overall pick become so split that the owner had to step in?

These are all my presumptions based on my observations from the draft itself, the logic of the franchise drafting, and the reactions from Houston Texans owner Cal McNair, head coach DeMeco Ryans, and general manager Nick Casario. Based on these observations, I believe McNair wanted the Texans to draft a quarterback. Caserio and Ryans were sold on Anderson and on Draft Day, McNair made his thoughts known that he desired the Texans to draft Stroud and forced their hand.

Let's take a look at the evidence and the reactions.