The Texans revealed a well-kept secret on Thursday night, selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
Unsettled at the position since Deshaun Watson ran afoul of the law and was later traded, Stroud is the third quarterback drafted in the first round in Houston's franchise history.
Stroud backed up Justin Fields at Ohio State before two record-smashing seasons for the Buckeyes, putting up 324 passing yards and more than three touchdown passes per game.
First-year head coach DeMeco Ryans said last month the Texans weren't drafting "a savior" second overall but were focused on building the foundation for success with 12 total draft picks and two first-rounders entering Thursday
And production in 2022 indicates a turnaround for the Texans is far more than a one-man job
Houston was in the bottom fourth of the NFL in most offensive categories last season with Davis Mills operating as the primary quarterback.
The Texans ranked 30th in total points (17 per game), 25th in passing (196.7 per game) and 31st in rushing yards (86.8 per game)
A Hail Mary TD to beat Indianapolis in Week 18 cost the Texans the No. 1 pick, which originally went to the Chicago Bears and was traded to the Carolina Panthers
There are building blocks in place to make a sharp turn toward contending in Houston.
General manager Nick Caserio found a gem at running back in Dameon Pierce (fourth round, 107th overall) last year and Houston has a solid offensive line with linchpin left tackle Laremy Tunsil locked up with a three-year contract extension in March.
With Ryans' arrival comes another offensive system for Houston, which employed Bill O'Brien (2020), David Culley (2021) and Lovie Smith (2022) as head coach in the three years before Caserio hired Ryans. The Texans have a combined record of 11-38-1 since Deshaun Watson led the team to a 10-6 record and wildcard playoff win in 2019
Watson had 33 TD passes for the Texans in 2020 but demanded a trade at the start of the offseason, citing conflict with the front office and the franchise not consulting him about candidates to potentially replace O'Brien. Soon after, the depths of the legal issues Watson faced with nearly three dozen claims from massage therapists of assault and inappropriate sexual conduct. Watson was inactive for every game in 2021 and traded to the Cleveland Browns before the 2022 draft
--Field Level Media