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Texans select Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud with No. 2 overall pick: 2023 NFL Draft

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Texans select Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud with No. 2 overall pick: 2023 NFL Draft

The Texans have chosen C.J. Stroud, a quarterback from Ohio State, as their second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They also traded up to secure the third overall pick, selecting Will Anderson from Alabama.

Despite rumors suggesting that the Houston Texans may choose a different player, they ultimately drafted Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud as their quarterback with the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday evening.

In a bold move, the Texans’ front office led by general manager Nick Caserio made an early and exciting takeover of the draft by trading up to acquire the third overall pick and selecting Will Anderson Jr., a pass rusher from Alabama.

 

Houston traded away their 12th and 33rd overall picks in this year’s draft, as well as their first and third-round picks in 2024, in exchange for the opportunity to move up in the draft. As part of the deal, they received the 105th pick. The Arizona Cardinals, who received these picks from Houston, wasted no time and used their newly acquired 12th pick to trade up once again, this time to the 6th pick, where they selected Ohio State’s offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.

Leading up to the draft, the Texans were secretive about their intentions for the second overall pick, leaving room for speculation that they may choose a pass rusher or go in a different direction. However, ultimately, their priority to improve their quarterback talent outweighed other possibilities.

It is likely that Stroud will have the opportunity to start immediately for the Texans, as they currently have Davis Mills, Case Keenum, and E.J. Perry on their roster. Mills has started 26 games for Houston over the past two seasons and has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 33:25, but his record as a starter is 5-20-1. Keenum has returned to Houston after beginning his career there in 2013, but he has been a part of seven different teams since then and has only started two games in the past three seasons.

Stroud, who started for Ohio State for two years, earned back-to-back Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year awards after throwing for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. The Buckeyes achieved a 21-4 record during Stroud’s time as their quarterback, after he took a redshirt year in 2020 following Justin Fields. Over the course of 25 starts in the past two seasons, Stroud had an average of 324.9 passing yards per game and 3.4 passing touchdowns per game.

In the past few days, there has been talk about Stroud’s scores on the S2 Cognition test, and he addressed this topic on Wednesday.

Stroud is a skilled passer with a smooth delivery and remarkable accuracy while throwing from the pocket. His capability to anticipate throws and distribute the ball to any region of the field provides him with a strong foundation at the NFL level. With his ideal 6-foot-3, 214-pound build, Stroud is an excellent distributor who can excel in identifying openings in the defense and make good decisions.

Despite being a reliable athlete, Stroud occasionally hesitated to use his legs. This reluctance could be attributed to the fact that he frequently had a clean pocket, and Ohio State had a group of outstanding receivers, so there was no need to use that aspect of his game to succeed. However, during the College Football Playoff game against Georgia, he demonstrated that he can scramble effectively, causing three missed tackles. Moving on to the NFL, it remains to be seen whether his impressive performance in the Peach Bowl was an anomaly or a sign of the immense potential that Stroud possesses at the professional level.

In addition, Stroud will be playing under a rookie head coach (DeMeco Ryans) and a rookie offensive coordinator (Bobby Slowik) in Houston. Although he had better receivers at Ohio State than he currently does with the Texans, Stroud has the ability to stay calm under pressure and make precise passes, which could help him become a solid performer right away.

Anderson was an unstoppable force on the defensive line for Alabama, recording 34.5 sacks in 41 games. He showed his skills right from the start of his college career, as he was a starting player as a true freshman under head coach Nick Saban. In three seasons, Anderson accumulated 204 tackles.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Anderson is a tall and agile edge rusher with a combination of strength and speed. He can easily beat offensive tackles with his quickness or overpower them with his strength. Anderson was a nightmare for opposing teams, causing disruption in the backfield and accumulating 58.5 tackles for loss.

Anderson’s quick acceleration and speed in finishing plays earned him unanimous All-American honors for two consecutive years, as well as the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for being the best defensive player in college football in 2021 and 2022. Furthermore, he was the recipient of two SEC Defensive Player of the Year awards, concluding his impressive tenure at Alabama.

Texans select Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud with No. 2 overall pick: 2023 NFL Draft

Anderson’s weakness in his game at the NFL level is his ability to disengage from blocks after his initial rush move. Despite that, he is expected to be a strong contender for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award as an explosive edge rusher with quick reflexes and agility. The Texans addressed their significant needs at quarterback and edge rusher by selecting Stroud and Anderson within the first three picks of the 2023 NFL Draft.

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