Thursday, September 28 2023

In life, we sometimes say “it’s too good to be true” when the miraculous happens. 

That’s the world the Texans are living in. 

Not only did Houston get its potential quarterback of the future in Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 overall pick, it also got who many believe is the best defensive player in the draft: Alabama’s Will Anderson. The Texans moved up to No. 3 by giving the Cardinals Nos. 12, 33 (second round), a 2024 first-rounder and a 2024 third-rounder. Houston also received pick 105 in the deal. 

We already knew Houston’s need for a quarterback, of course. Deshaun Watson is long gone and former third-round pick Davis Mills proved he wasn’t the long-term answer, following an encouraging rookie campaign with a rough 2022 season, when he tied for the league high with 15 interceptions. 

But the Texans also needed a No. 1 pass rusher. Their sack leader from last season, Jerry Hughes, turns 35 in August. Jonathan Greenard missed nine games last season. 

Anderson, a Pro Bowl-caliber talent, fills that role — while simultaneously boosting the team’s run defense, which gave up 170.2 rushing yards per game last season, the worst mark in team history. In addition to 10 sacks, the 6-foot-3, 253-pound Anderson also had 17 tackles for loss last season. Among all FBS edge rushers last season, his 86.7 run defense grade (per Pro Football Focus) was the sixth-highest in the nation. 

The Texans are adding Stroud, who completed 69.3% of his passes for 8,123 yards for 85 touchdowns with 12 interceptions at Ohio State last season, to an offense that he should be able to step in to and perform. Houston inked left tackle Laremy Tunsil to an extension, traded for right guard Shaq Mason and added a slew of veteran skill players: tight end Dalton Schultz; wide receivers Robert Woods and Noah Brown; and running back Devin Singletary


And Anderson gives new coach DeMeco Ryans, the former 49ers standout defensive coordinator, a Pro Bowl caliber prospect for a young, ascending defense that features the likes of safety Jalen Pitre and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 draft. 

Between Stroud and Anderson, Houston figures to be much more competitive in the AFC South in 2023 — and potentially become a force for years to come. 

Talk about a home run Day 1 of the draft for Houston.

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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