Why the Texans Must Draft Bryce Young at Number Two

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

There isn't an exact science to evaluating quarterbacks during the NFL draft. It is a flawed process with its share of misses because there are no guarantees. Players like Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell blew everyone's minds with their physical attributes but were spectacular busts. In contrast, Joe Montana and Tom Brady became some of the game's greatest despite their poor scouting reports.

The quarterback class of 2023 is no different. Even those touted as game-changers have room for improvement. But beyond the 40-yard-dash times and Wonderlic tests, seeing them perform consistently is crucial in determining a play-callers potential success in the pros. Under that premise, the Houston Texans should turn in Bryce Young’s name for the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

C.J. Stroud is Probably Out of Reach

The Carolina Panthers might have left some breadcrumbs about leaning toward Stroud for the number one pick when quarterbacks coach Josh McCown was heard saying he and Storud will have to find a court in Charlotte for a game of HORSE once he gets there [1]. However, the former Ohio State standout ticks the most boxes on a scout’s wish list.

Aside from having the size and arm strength, he has impeccable accuracy and the ability to complete passes at varying angles. Stroud is also impressive in assessing pre-snap reads and going through his progressions. Further, he has the speed to turn broken plays into positive gains. You can’t fault the Panthers for taking him because he is worthy of a high selection after what he has shown in college.

Texans Stick to the Draft Board

With Stroud probably having his name called first, the Texans must draft the next-best player who can enormously impact their squad. Young is that guy, even if the team has other glaring holes on the roster. Besides, getting it right at quarterback gives the team an identity that fans can rally behind, not to mention covering their weaknesses.

The Texans will have 12 picks in the 2023 draft, including two in the top 12. That’s an adequate haul to address other positions of need, like a linebacker and offensive linemen. While edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. is making a case to be the first defensive player selected, general manager Nick Caserio must not waste the opportunity to use the number two for the Alabama standout at quarterback.

Questions about his height and weight will linger until he proves the doubters wrong. Luckily for Houston, that chip on his shoulder enabled him to deliver outstanding performances for the Crimson Tide. Ian Cummings of the Pro Football Network enumerated [2] the characteristics that make Young a viable option for a rebuilding franchise.

Cummings pointed out Young’s “arm elasticity,” which allows him to complete passes at varying angles. He can also generate velocity at odd angles, while his creativity gives him an edge against the defense, especially during botched plays. Further, he fools defenders with his eyes to disguise his intentions. His decision-making is off the charts, and he is comfortable as either a pocket passer or a scrambler.

The Benefits Outweigh the Risks

Young has demonstrated some points of concern, including his tendencies of rushing through his reads and some faulty footwork. Working with Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson can help correct those mistakes. His weaknesses are forgivable compared to the inconsistencies of other quarterback prospects.

Anthony Richardson is an elite athlete who can dominate games with his feet. However, he is an inaccurate passer who struggles to complete short and intermediate throws. He also goes out of sync if he cannot complete his first few throws.

Meanwhile, Will Levis has the quarterback size all teams desire, but he throws the ball hard most of the time. Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus [3] made a case that he did well with offensive coordinator Liam Coen and wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. But more polishing should be in place because he's extremely raw.

The only thing Young lacks is the body that Richardson and Levis have. Critics will repeat the doomsday argument about the NFL being played at a faster pace and with more talented athletes. Therefore, they are not keen on the scenario wherein Young translates his style to the NFL game with apparent success.

But with the talent Houston is stockpiling, he is the best option behind center in making the most of what they have. After the draft, the offensive line may continue to have issues, but he can work around that disadvantage. The defense will also benefit from a lead before taking the field.

This decision will put the Texans a step closer to a playoff return and hopefully more. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner will have a chip on his shoulders to silence the doubters and spark hope in a suffering fanbase.

[1] Callihan, Schuyler. “Josh McCown’s Moment with C.J. Stroud Goes Viral.” Sports Illustrated Carolina Panthers News, Analysis and More, Sports Illustrated Carolina Panthers News, Analysis and More, 23 Mar. 2023, www.si.com/nfl/panthers/gm-report/josh-mccowns-moment-with-c-j-stroud-goes-viral. Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

[2] “Bryce Young, QB, Alabama | NFL Draft Scouting Report.” Pro Football Network, 17 Mar. 2023, www.profootballnetwork.com/bryce-young-qb-alabama-nfl-draft-scouting-report-2023/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

[3] Renner, Michael. “2023 NFL Draft: Will Levis and the Inexact Science of QB Evaluation.” PFF, PFF, 17 Jan. 2023, www.pff.com/news/draft-2023-nfl-draft-will-levis-inexact-science-quarterback-evaluation. Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.