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  • Eric Martinez

2023 NFL Draft: Houston Texans address needs by selecting impactful players to start right away

The Houston Texans started the weekend with the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft. The buzz around Houston was a desire to select a franchise quarterback in a draft that could have potentially 4 quarterbacks drafted in the first round. Texans ended the 2022 season with a 3-13-1 record and were in last place in a surging AFC South division.

Newly hired head coach, Demeco Ryans, favors a defensive draft strategy to bolster a roster that has mass potential. The Houston Texans draft War Room all were in agreement that at #2 there would need to be a selection that can impact the team right away. That’s exactly what occurred by selecting the best pure pocket passer in the 2023 NFL Draft in quarterback C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State.

Stroud is an elusive quarterback that continues to show his unique ability to throw the football with an accurate touch for his receivers to make a play on the ball whether it’s in the pocket or scrambling under pressure. The 6’3” 214 lb quarterback will need to improve multiple aspects of his game including his ability to extend plays by willing to run the football and extend plays by scrambling out of the pocket.

Adding to the selection of the quarterback, the Houston Texans made a trade at #3 overall with the Arizona Cardinals to draft arguably the best defensive player in the NFL Draft, Will Anderson Jr., EDGE/OLB out of Alabama. Anderson Jr. has a relentless motor when pursuing quarterbacks and is also a great dynamic player defensively. His range makes him a potential impact player defensively for Houston beginning as early as training camp. Whether Texans line him up to set the edge, or come off the blind side to pressure quarterbacks for a pass rush, Anderson Jr. has the lower-body strength and dynamic skill set to catch the attention of offensive coordinators in the AFC South right away.

Rounds 2 through 7 addressed several needs for the Houston Texans. Not only did the Texans add depth to the offensive line, but also drafting two wide receivers to help C.J. Stroud spotlights the new offensive strategy for the Texans. The third round draft pick, Nathaniel Dell, wide receiver out of University of Houston and sixth round sleeper Xavier Hutchinson, wide receiver out of Iowa State, will be plugged in right away to add to the depth chart including John Metchie III that skipped his rookie season to treat Leukemia and will be healthy and ready to contribute in 2023. Wide out Nate Dell contributed 1398 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns for the Houston Cougars, and was a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist for top wide receiver in college for the 2022 season. Dell led the nation with a touchdown reception in 11 different games. Xavier Hutchinson ended up as a 2022 Biletnikoff Award Finalist with First Team All-Big 12 and led the Big 12 with a school record, 107 receptions.

Texans added defensive depth in the fourth round by taking Defensive End, Dylan Horton out of TCU. One of the main concerns for Houston this offseason was defending against the run, and Horton will help the Texans lining up outside of the tackle, but also has a quick first step to give offensive lineman interior problems as well. In the fifth, Texans selected inside linebacker, Henry To’oTo’o from Alabama that will help pursuit running backs and quarterbacks from sideline to sideline. Range is the name of To’oTo’o’s game. His ability to read the quarterback and be a vocal leader will bode well with coach Ryans and sure to make highlight reels based on his instincts and high football IQ. Bolstering the offensive line was a priority in the sixth round by selecting Jarrett Patterson, center from Notre Dame that will be a sure project but a solid backup with room to grow. Seventh round pick, Brandon Hill was the safety blanket for the University of Pittsburgh and Texans selected a durable safety that will help over the top for coverage and aggression on 50/50 balls. A quality pick in the seventh round that has shown the ability to start and stop with speed and agility.

Texans are sure to improve from the 2022 season, and leading the way will be DeMeco Ryans that brings his defensive mastermind to lead the charge for a young, exciting Houston team that is sure to fight for respect in a division that has Trevor Lawrence, Ryan Tannehill, and now C.J. Stroud.

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