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What If Texans Trade Up For Cardinals’ No. 3 Pick?

  • Justin Melo
  • April 5, 2023
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The Houston Texans are considering passing on a quarterback with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, according to reports. Up until now, the Texans have been expected to draft one of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. Those waters have been a bit muddied this week by conflicting reports that also have tied them to Hendon Hooker.

If the Texans do initially pass on a quarterback, it’s to draft a defensive stud like Will Anderson Jr., Jalen Carter, or Tyree Wilson. General manager Nick Caserio also owns the 12th overall selection as a result of the Deshaun Watson trade and could consider trading back up to No. 3 overall to select his quarterback. The Texans should explore trading back up for a quarterback if they pass on a signal-caller at No. 2, but executing a deal with the Arizona Cardinals would be costly.

Arizona is open for business. New Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort already has a franchise quarterback under a multi-year contract in Kyler Murray. Ossenfort is open to dealing the selection for a king’s ransom to address a roster that’s loaded with weaknesses.

The Texans could trade back up for a quarterback, but I believe doing so is unlikely at No. 3 overall. Perhaps executing a deal with the Seattle Seahawks at No. 5 or Las Vegas Raiders at No. 7 qualifies as more realistic assuming those two franchises aren’t interested in drafting quarterbacks themselves. Caserio would part with less, but would also risk missing out on his preferred quarterback target. It’s a conundrum Caserio must sort through.

Caserio must weigh the cost and benefits. Is a defensive playmaker like Anderson worth initially bypassing on a quarterback, only to then part with multiple selections in order to draft the same quarterback they could have already drafted? It’s worth acknowledging that Anderson has been college football’s top defensive prospect for roughly 24-plus months, and Caserio could consider Anderson worth the price of doing business.

It’s worth acknowledging that Houston’s defensive line lacks ascending talent outside of Jonathan Greenard, who enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 but was hampered by injury in 2022. Soon-to-be-35-year-old veteran Jerry Hughes led the Texans in sacks in 2022 with an impressive 9.5 quarterback takedowns. Hughes can’t defeat father time forever, and the Texans also lost an underrated contributor in Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to the Cleveland Browns in free agency. Anderson would represent a big upgrade.

There are different scenarios worth playing out, but one thing is certain. The Texans can’t possibly convince their passionate fan base to endure another year of Davis Mills. New head coach DeMeco Ryans also deserves better after David Culley and Lovie Smith were set up for failure in back-to-back one-and-done campaigns. Ryans hired an excellent offensive coordinator in Bobby Slowik, who is expecting the franchise to acquire an exciting rookie quarterback. Neither coach should be straddled with Mills.

Caserio is equipped with two first-round selections and a whole lot of mid-round ammunition. How Caserio chooses to utilize those selections doesn’t appear to be as straightforward as it once was. The Texans possess options, and one includes drafting the best defensive player before trading back up for a quarterback.

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Justin Melo