We are getting to the end of these Draft Grades and I have finally reached the point where I think I know how I really feel about this Draft for the TEXANS. I am a very strong believer that for a team that was in the sorry situation that they were 3 seasons ago, a total roster rebuild was in play for new GM NICK CASERIO. True to his leanings having worked with the master BILL BELICHICK, CASERIO started out by signing dozens of mid-t0-low level VFA to short 1-2 year contracts. Finally, he made some trades designed to build up a cache’ of Draft Capital. 2023 was set to be the cash-in year to make moves and add some “star” power to the team. The only thing that complicated part of that equation was the team wining its final game of the 2022 season, thus knocking themselves out of the first Pick in the Draft.
I am also a strong believer that even in football, with 22 players on the field at all times, there is a point where your team needs a handful of studs, to exert their star power to raise up the play of those around them. Clearly, CASERIO decided his league leading 12 Picks and with most of them being early each Round, this would be a time to move around if needed and go for potential stars. So within the first hour of the 2023 Draft after they drafted QB C.J. STROUD he packaged up some of those extra Picks and a bit of the future to slide in at Pick 3 and take arguably the best defensive player in WILL ANDERSON. Those two have a chance to lead their respective units for years to come.
So what else did they do? Let’s go…
Round 1, Pick 2 C.J. STROUD QB Ohio State 6’3/218 PP Rank 2 The time was up pretending, and hoping that DAVIS MILLS was realistically their Franchise QB. So with YOUNG gone, and despite rumors that they were not enamored with STROUD, they took him to be their Franchise QB. All he needs to do is play on a level they previously enjoyed with a young QB need WATSON. STORUD had a fine career at Ohio St, and he culminated his college career with stellar game effort against the vaunted GEORGIA Defense. The first goal is to have him ready to open the season as their starting QB. No pressure young man.
Round 1, Pick 3 WILL ANDERSON ER/DE Alabama 6’4/255 PP Rank 3 Once again, right on for my money. Some argue about how “great” he is, or isn’t, but his pedigree is elite. He is a top notch athlete, with long arms (33 7/8″), good quickness and decent speed (4.60/40). Last season, playing fewer snaps in order to start integrating the next 5 -Star recruits into the defensive lineup, he still produced 51 Tackles, including 17 TFL & 1o Sacks. He reminds me of VON MILLER, and that’s my take.
Round 2, Pick 62 JUICE SCRUGGS OC Penn State 6’3 310 PP Rank 213 OK, for this amateur scout this is a real head scratcher. He’s a great story in perseverance, and was a solid OC for the Nittany Lions, but Round 2? I think not. Remind me of my ranking and comments when he’s still their starting OC in 2030. I just don’t see the value at this Pick.
Round 3, Pick 70 ‘TANK” DELL WR/RS Houston 5’8/165 PP Rank 158 I like DELL based on his play at Houston. He’s not a burner (4.43/40) but he is very quick and elusive once the ball is in his hands. He caught 109 passes last season and has a good chance to man the Slot as a Rookie. He also averaged 17 yards/Punt Return. I saw him in Round 5, but I am not going to argue with his section here.
Round 4, Pick 109 DYLAN HORTON DE/ER TCU 6’4/260 PP Rank 123 At one point I had him in my Top 100 prospects, but that was early on when I thought he weighed about 275 and would be able to play DE full-time. Now he looks more like an Edge-Rush specialists to come in on passing downs. Had 10 Sacks and 14 1/2 TFL. There is clear value in that. I always knew the time would come when they realized it would take at least two good players to make up for the loss of one J.J. WATT.
Round 5, Pick 167 HENRY TO’O TO’O LB Alabama 6’1/230 PP Rank 113 A good athlete, with a nose for the ball, and solid tackling skills. Flashes, but likewise disappears at times as well. The current talent level in their LB unit is journeyman level overall. If his FBI is as high as Nick Saban would lead us to believe, then he may start before his Rookie season is over.
Round 6, Pick 201 JARRETT PATTERSON IOL Notre Dame 6’5/305 PP Rank 149 I never really believed the Top 50 talk about him early last season. I am not even sure he is even a full-time starter as a pro. However he is experienced, has high level fundamentals under control. That 5.25/40 time is a legit tip-off that his athleticism is average at best. They must be hoping that he can handle a back-up spot on all 3 Interior spots.
Round 6, Pick 205 XAVIER HUTCHISON WR Iowa State 6’2/205 PP Rank 181 You cannot ignore the fact that he stepped up his game in 2022 when they needed him most. Despite his somewhat pedestrian 4.57-40 time, he held down the No.1 receiver spot with his 107 catches in 2022. But his lack of elite athleticism is going to be exposed as a Pro. He will have to carve out some special teams jobs to stick on the end of a roster for Receiver 5 & Special Teams units. Reminds me of a bit lighter weight ALAN LAZARD.
Round 7, Pick 248 BRANDON HILL S Pitt 5’10/195 PP Rank NR His lack of size and athletic workout numbers caused him to fall this far. He surprised me when he ranked 8th out of 20 S at the Combine in overall athleticism. His 4.43/40 at that Combine also surprised some. It was the fastest in the S group and helped explain his productive senior campaign at Pitt. I have a feeling this guy makes the Texans roster and sees plenty of action out on the field for them.
They started with a bang, then got bogged down a bit. But it is not hard to picture every one of these players making their roster and contributing in some manner. But in reality, the key will be whether both STROUD and ANDERSON hit the ground running and play solid roles as Rookie starters.
Grade: B+ Just barely above a solid B, but I still see some standout additions to their roster in these 9 selections.