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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How did Texans' brass react?

On top of the timing of the trade, are the reactions from the Texans' brass. The Houston Texans Twitter account posted the phone calls made to each one of the players they selected during the draft. They also posted an exclusive behind-the-scenes draft day video on youtube. If you watch the video of Ryans, Caserio, and McNair talking to Stroud versus Anderson, there is a clear disparity. 

Watch the above video starting at the 7:25 mark as the Texans' Youtube covers the team's draft, which includes their phone calls to each draftee. It's business as usual for Ryans and Caserio when they call Stroud, with the typical "We are gonna turn the pick in here" spiel. No big deal. When the Texans draft Will Anderson, everything changes. 

With Anderson, they are fired up. Caserio is practically screaming into the phone. DeMeco is hyped, beginning the call with an emphatic "Let's go, my man, let's go." McNair says, "Our guys really believe in you.", not, “I am excited, I believe in you.” To be fair to Cal, he did not show much emotion on either call, but the phrase "our guys believe in you" stood out to me.

Following that video, you can see Stroud and Anderson heading in the Texans’ building and greeting different staff members. Among those greeting them are Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans, you can see this at the 2:30 mark. Ryans daps Stroud up briefly, following a bear hug for Anderson, and then we see Caserio carry his draft call energy into a monster four-pat bear hug for Anderson. We do not see video evidence of Caserio and Stroud embracing or much acknowledgment.

These are all speculations based on the evidence provided. I'm excited the Texans selected C.J. Stroud at number two, but I wonder if it was a group decision, or did Cal McNair step in. We will see as the season unfolds how Stroud is handled by the staff and what the truth was behind the presumed last-minute draft decision.