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 Evidence:

Part of my reasoning stems from the unusual timing of the decision to draft Stroud. The Texans' trade with the Cardinals immediately following their selection of Stroud could have been more calculated. Caserio and company have shown time and time again their obsessive attention to detail. This trade did not resemble that. If the Texans had this planned, why didn't they make the trade before the draft?

The Texans could have gained much more by making the trade with the Cardinals before the NFL draft started. Once the Texans were on the clock, they lost leverage. Sure, the Texans gained some of that back by selecting Stroud first, as this notably knocked down the asking price for the third selection; but they lost value when they waited.

The Cardinals could have stayed and selected a player but were very open to trading out of the selection for the right price. They were prepared for this situation and most likely open to the idea of making a selection at three. It was the Texans who had to make a decision and meet the demands within a ten-minute range. I don't need to be a general manager to understand leverage in negotiations, and the Cardinals had all of it.