The Houston Texans were on the verge of clinching the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That is until Week 18 happened. With under a minute remaining in the season, Lovie Smith led his team down the field while facing a touchdown deficit. As we all know, the Texans found the end zone with 50 seconds remaining — but that’s not all!
Sensing the writing already on the wall, Smith and his guys went for the victory. On the two-point conversion, Davis Mills found Jordan Akins to give Houston a 32-31 lead, which would stand until the end of the game. This win was an awesome parting gift for Smith, who many believed was being scapegoated from the moment he was hired.
The Texans slid down the order to No. 2 following this comeback victory, leaving the Bears to claim the top spot in this year’s NFL Draft. Chicago already traded its pick for a massive haul, essentially guaranteeing that a quarterback comes off the board before Houston takes the podium.
What if the Texans are only sold on one quarterback, namely Bryce Young? Will general manager Nick Caserio pivot to a different signal-caller? Or will he abandon the quarterback plan altogether? Should they stay out and take a defender for DeMeco Ryans to build around? Or should they trade back for a haul of their own, giving the front office more chances to reshape the roster?
2023 NFL Draft: Three Options for the Texans at No. 2 Overall
Below we will highlight these three courses of action and what they might look like for the Texans. Thanks to the added draft capital this year from the Deshaun Watson trade (No. 12 overall), Houston boasts an absurd amount of flexibility in the 2023 NFL Draft. Without further ado… what should the Texans do at No. 2?
1. Draft Best Available QB
This first section comes with a bit of a caveat. I firmly believe the Texans should take a franchise signal-caller at No. 2 overall. If one is available there should be zero debate in the draft room. However, with the Panthers taking a quarterback before them, there is a chance that Houston only has one quarterback with a “franchise player” grade.
By all accounts, Bryce Young is that guy. If Carolina takes the Alabama superstar, it could result in a change of course for the Texans. I’d take the chance on CJ Stroud at No. 2, but the fact he shares an agent with the aforementioned Watson could cause some waves between his representation and the franchise.
Anthony Richardson is a considerable risk this early in the NFL Draft, but Houston should consider developing the polarizing prospect. His ceiling is higher than anyone else in the class — regardless of position. Will Levis boasts a lot of the same physical features but is just as raw in his own right. Perhaps these last two names present too much risk for a team still in the early stages of roster building, but if any of them carry a “franchise player” grade, they should be the pick.