NFL Draft: Texans select QB Stroud at two, trade up for edge-rusher Anderson at three

·1-min read
Getty Images

The Houston Texans have struggled to find an identity since the departure of Deshaun Watson. On Thursday, the franchise's rebuilding effort got a new face on each side of the ball.

With the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Texans selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.

In a stunning move, the Texans then acquired the third overall selection from the Arizona Cardinals to draft pass-rushing linebacker Will Anderson Jr. out of Alabama.

Scroll to continue with content

In return, the Cardinals received the 12th overall pick, as well as the number 33 pick in the second round, and a first- and third-round pick in 2024.

Houston is the first team with two of the top three picks in a single draft since Washington back in 2000.

The Texans' picks came after the Panthers drafted Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the top overall pick, acquired from the Chicago Bears.

Stroud was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes, tallying 85 touchdown passes to just 12 interceptions. He was a 2022 Heisman Trophy finalist and cemented himself as a top-tier pro prospect by throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns in a College Football Playoff loss against Georgia – the eventual national champions.

At six-foot-three and 214 pounds, he projects as a traditional pocket-based quarterback who has been hesitant to create opportunities with his legs.

Anderson led the Alabama defense for three seasons, making 34.5 sacks in 41 career games. After landing on the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2020, Anderson followed with 17.5 sacks in a decorated sophomore season.

Anderson lacks the elite size and athleticism of the very best pass-rushers, but he was consistently disruptive over an impressive career at Alabama.