What the Houston Texans trade for Will Anderson Jr means

Houston Texans
Houston Texans / Chris Kwiecinski/Tribune / USA TODAY

The Houston Texans, led by new head coach DeMeco Ryans, made a statement loud and clear Thursday night. The Houston Texans are tired of being the doormat of the AFC South and the NFL as a whole. The Houston Texans are done being a laughingstock. The Texans believe in themselves.

The Texans are here to build a team with the players they want, and Texans' GM Nick Caserio is ready to go out and get them. This mindset change was on full display this weekend when the Houston Texans traded this year's 12th, 33rd, as well as next year's first, and third to select the Alabama Crimson Tide's pride and joy, Will Anderson Jr.

In making this blockbuster trade, the Texans prioritized blue-chip talent over quantity of talent. Caserio and Ryans also showed what kinds of players they want to build around. Yes, the current roster has many holes, but what it lacked more was star power. The Texans first two selections signaled a significant mindset shift and radically expedited their rebuild.

Three positions teams covet with a number one overall pick.

When a team is in the dumps for a few years, there are typically three positions they need help, left tackle, quarterback, and defensive end. These are the three premium positions. In this Texans offseason, they have signed the best left tackle in football, Laremy Tunsil, to a record deal. Check box one. They drafted a top signal caller in Ohio State's C.J. Stroud. Check box two. Oh yeah, then they traded up to select Alabama HOF defender Will Anderson Jr. Check box three.

There was no guarantee that the Texans would be positioned to select a generational pass rusher in next year's draft. Let alone one as clean of a prospect as Anderson Jr. There was no guarantee that Caleb Williams would be available, or even still considered a franchise quarterback, in next year's draft. So, instead of waiting to build the three most important positions on a team, the Texans swung for the fences.

Yes, this roster still has work to do, but we can begin to see a clear picture of what the Texans have and could excel at. Last season, the Texans' defense ranked 11th in pass defense, 18th in sacks with only five less than Ryans' 49ers, and dead last in rush defense. The pass defense will get better with the additions of Ryans, Anderson, a healthy Derek Stingley, and newly acquired safety Jimmie Ward who is coming over from the Bay Area with Ryans. The run defense got a boost when the Texans signed Sheldon Rankins and still had ten draft picks to beef up the middle of that defense.