Some mock drafts have the Houston Texans missing out on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. The Carolina Panthers take him to kickoff the 2023 NFL draft.
Given the hype for Young going to the Texans, taking Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud seems more like a consolation than Houston making a move to elevate their talent under center. Throw in some of Stroud’s weaknesses, and it seems like a trepidatious proposition.
Why not kick the can down the road to 2024 and try again? After all, the Texans will still have two first-round picks they can use to take the best of that draft class. USC’s Caleb Williams is the early leader for the star of that quarterback crop.
Going for a dominant edge defender such as Alabama’s Will Anderson with the No. 2 overall pick, pending Houston misses out on Young and checks out of the quarterback market entirely, is the classic case of taking the best player available. According to Pro Football Focus, Anderson is the third-best prospect on their big board.
However, the Texans need to stick with addressing their need, not adhere to taking the best player available at No. 2 overall.
While having a freak edge defender is outstanding for a defense, the best case for why it doesn’t always pan out is J.J. Watt, the franchise’s best player to date. With no quarterback at all, the best Watt could do with all of his might was will Houston to 9-7 finishes (2014-15) while collecting NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. Houston never notched a postseason win because their quarterback play was underwhelming.
Contrast that with Watt’s beginning and end of his Texans tenure when Houston had efficiency, playmaking, and reliability at quarterback. The Texans essentially turned the AFC South into an automatic bid. And it can be argued that the quarterback play was actually more relevant in Watt’s first and last playoff seasons with the team. In 2019, Watt missed half the season, but the Texans’ passing game ensured they went 10-6, won the division, and gave Watt a chance to win his last playoff game in Houston against the Buffalo Bills.
Missing on the first quarterback prospect also doesn’t doom a franchise either. For every Kyler Murray, there is a Daniel Jones. For every Baker Mayfield, there is a Josh Allen. And the 2023 class is chock full of prospects to where quarterback-needy teams may not go home disappointed — such as in 2012 when Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins were selected.
If Houston doesn’t get the quarterback they want, they should not punt the No. 2 pick and go defensive.