HOUSTON (KIAH) — The NFL Draft is here, and still no one has a definitive clue on what the Houston Texans will do with their two first-round picks on Thursday.
When the season ended in January, it was pretty much a done deal that the Texans would take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick, either Alabama’s Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud from Ohio State. But thanks to the Carolina Panthers trading with the Chicago Bears to get the No. 1 overall pick, it seems like it is a lock that Young will be heading to Carolina.
So that leaves Stroud to Houston, right? Well, not so fast.
Several factors have made the No. 2 pick a toss-up between either getting Stroud (whose stock has taken a hit from a leaked aptitude test), another quarterback (either Will Levis from Kentucky or Anthony Richardson from Florida) or going with a defensive player.
The rumblings from national reporters have Houston leaning towards going with a defensive player at No. 2, mostly because new head coach DeMeco Ryans wants to rebuild a lackluster front seven and the Texans’ run defense was among the worst in the NFL in 2022. The names being battered around are Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson, who had seven sacks for the Red Raiders last season.
But could it be that Texans general manager Nick Caserio is playing the media for fools and will go for a quarterback anyways? Stroud is still the second-best quarterback on the board, but Levis’ stock has been rising, and he has a strong arm that could make the Texans a big-play offense. Richardson is raw, but talented with his legs and his arm strength.
Or maybe they can go defense at No. 2 and circle back at quarterback at No. 12? Not likely since several other teams could trade up to get those quarterbacks. But Houston is looking at a couple of wide receivers at that position, either Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Nijgba or Zay Flowers from Boston College.
But remember this, there will be trades. If not the Texans, other teams will be trading like crazy to move up or move down to maneuver through this draft. And there’s still a pipe dream of a move for the Texans to make, trading some of its 12 draft picks to Baltimore for disgruntled quarterback and former MVP Lamar Jackson. Or a lower end deal that would reunite quarterback Trey Lance with Ryans from their days in San Francisco.
The only thing to say about the Houston Texans and the 2023 NFL Draft is this: expect the unexpected.