2. Trade Down for a Haul
The Bears already laid the blueprint for what a trade-down would look like in the 2023 NFL Draft. Granted, Chicago had the rights to the No. 1 pick, giving any team acquiring it the choice of the board. For the Texans at No. 2, it is a bit trickier than that. A team trading up would need to have two quarterbacks with a “franchise player” grade to feel comfortable moving assets to climb the board.
The Colts, Raiders, and Titans stand out the most to me, as rumors surrounding the franchises say multiple quarterbacks rank high on their respective boards. For the Colts, the Texans would require less in a trade because Houston would only move back to No. 4 and still be guaranteed a stud defender. The Raiders at No. 7 puts them on the fringe of a great defender, and going back to No. 11 with the Titans takes them out of the convo altogether.
It must be mentioned that the Colts and Titans are both in the same division as the Texans. General manager Nick Caserio could tax any trade offers with these two teams, asking for more than he normally would from non-AFC South bidders. If either team is desperate enough to get their quarterback, it could result in a drastic overpay.
If the Texans want to trade down, they must first decide how far down and which teams they’d be willing to trade with. A move with the Colts would net less draft capital but guarantees a top-tier defender anyway. Trading down to the Raiders would require more in a deal and potentially take Houston out of the running for one of the star pass rushers.
The Titans provide the biggest return but would also make the Texans settle for a non-tier one prospect on their big board. That is a difficult sell to Houston fans at this point, but if the Trey Lance trade from two drafts ago is any indication, the return would likely net the team a first-rounder in 2024 and 2025, at minimum.
In this scenario, the Texans would still own No. 11, No. 12, and No. 33 in the 2023 NFL Draft. Houston would also have their own first-rounder in 2024, alongside first-rounders from the Browns and Titans. Going on, the 2025 NFL Draft would see the Texans with another Titan first-round pick on top of their own.
I know I know… at some point, a team has to make good on all these picks, but imagine the flexibility that would be presented to the front office with all of this draft capital at its disposal. It would be shortsighted for the Texans not to consider this move.