Grading the Houston Texans' first round of the 2023 NFL Draft
By Peter Manfre
The Houston Texans completed the wildest first round in team history and potentially the most draft-altering. Coming in to the NFL Draft, the Texans were rumored to be interested in Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Will Anderson. Well, both rumors ended up being true. Somehow, the Texans left the first 30 minutes of the draft with their franchise quarterback and franchise defender. We graded both selections of Stroud and Anderson separately, but now we can grade the first round as a whole for the Texans.
Coming into the weekend, I had Stroud as my second quarterback on my board, and in my pre-draft analysis of him, I shared my concerns about his slower processing speed. That being said, Stroud’s skill set is tailor-made for the potential Shanahan offensive scheme he is stepping into. This system asks for precision, and smart decision-making, and thrives best with a quarterback in rhythm. That's essentially Stroud.
Trading this year’s 12th, 33rd, and next year's first and third selections for the number one overall player on everyone’s board was a bold move that paired the best defender with the new franchise quarterback. It is hard to assume the value of next year’s draft capital, so I like the bold move to go and get your guy on defense while you're in a spot to do so.
The Texans did not wait to go get their guys in this draft and they did not want to leave finding a franchise cornerstone on either side of the ball to next year. Drafting a franchise quarterback next year was not a guarantee, they had to get a quarterback. Finding a defender with the production and elite traits such as Anderson wasn’t possible in next year’s draft.
The Texans are betting on themselves and do not plan to be drafting in the top ten this time next year unless it’s from the Browns selection that Houston owns. The Texans organization clearly believes in DeMeco Ryans and his staff. This team was in dire need of blue-chip prospects and got two tonight, putting themselves in a place to compete for the AFC South next season.