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Houston Texans 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight

Houston, TX, USA; From left to right, Houston Texans quarterback CJ Stroud (left), second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Texans linebacker Will Anderson Jr., third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, pose for a photo at a press conference at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books. After a flurry of selections from Thursday to Saturday, 259 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Houston Texans draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

For more information on the players your favorite team drafted, it’s not too late to get the 2023 NFL Draft Guide, which includes expanded scouting reports, draft grades, offseason reports, unique advanced data, PFF grades and much more.

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2023 NFL Draft Picks

R1 (2): QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
R1 (3): EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
R2 (62): C Juice Scruggs, Penn State
R3 (69): WR Nathaniel Dell, Houston
R4 (109): EDGE Dylan Horton, TCU
R5 (167): Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama
R6 (201): C Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame
R6 (205): WR Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State
R7 (248): S Brandon Hill, Pittsburgh

Day 1: After a lot of speculation that they would pass on a signal-caller, the Texans ultimately select the second-ranked quarterback on the PFF big board. Stroud earned a 92.2 PFF grade in 2021, tying with Bryce Young, and he was the seventh-highest-graded player at the position this past season.

The Texans shock everyone and move up to No. 3 to select the top edge defender on the PFF big board. Anderson produced a PFF grade of 89.8 in 2021 and 83.6 in 2022 and racked up 207 total pressures in three years at Alabama. Houston lands a top player, but they pay a steep price.

Day 2: Scruggs comes off the board before Ohio State’s Luke Wypler after producing 67.5 and 71.5 PFF grades in each of the past two seasons. The 138th-ranked player on the PFF big board, there’s still plenty of development needed, and he is likely scheme dependent. He produced a 72.6 PFF run-blocking grade on zone plays and a 62.9 PFF grade on gap plays.

Dell recorded 928 receiving yards out of the slot in 2022, 10th in the nation, with his 19 missed tackles forced a top-25 mark. While he’s undersized, he creates separation with ease and is extremely difficult to mirror in coverage. Houston adds another dynamic weapon for new quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Day 3: Houston traded down twice to kick off the day and still land a solid prospect at a position of need, as Horton is set to develop alongside No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. Horton is a safety convert who has added a bunch of weight while maintaining plus athleticism. He posted pass-rush and run-defense grades above 70.0 in 2022.

To’oTo’o is a downhill, physical linebacker with a ton of big-game experience as a starter at Tennesee and Alabama. Much like Noah Sewell, To’oTo’o brings it in the run game but doesn’t always diagnose well in coverage. He is a physical presence who isn’t afraid of anybody. He’ll bring solid on-field and intangible value to the to a Texans team that’s trying to change its culture.

Hill is a safety who plays mainly in the slot and only gave up one touchdown in coverage this year after giving up six in 2021.


Prospect Spotlight: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Stroud put a stamp on his college tenure in a big way with the second-highest-graded game of his career against Georgia in the College Football Playoff. He has the accuracy and anticipation to thrive in the NFL.

Strengths, weaknesses and NFL role

Where he wins: Accuracy

Our charting data would say Stroud is the most accurate quarterback in this class (although having a lot of open wide receivers can skew that a little). Almost never misses layups and errs on the safe side with misses.

What's his role? Pocket passer

Stroud excels over the middle of the field and at the intermediate range. If you want to win from the pocket in the NFL, that is precisely where you need to be able to attack.

What he can improve: Poise under pressure

He'll get trial by fire in this regard next season, as few teams drafting early have great a offensive line. After playing with one of the best offensive lines in college football, it will be a far cry from what he's been used to.


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