Texans trade for Will Anderson after selecting QB in NFL Draft



The Houston Texans finally got their Anderson quarterback — and arguably the top defender on the board.

Amid widespread speculation that the team might choose to select a signal-caller with the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, the Texans selected Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud with the pick on Thursday.

Yet Houston followed up that move by trading with the Arizona Cardinals for Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. to move up to the No. 3 slot.

The Texans traded their additional first-round pick (No. 12 overall) to the Cardinals as well as the No. 33 overall pick in this year’s draft. They also parted with a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder. Houston added a fourth-round pick (No. 105) in the draft.

In the days leading up to the draft, the Texans were linked with top edge rushers — Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson — with their early picks. Instead, they opted to make a long-awaited big investment behind center two years after the franchise parted ways with former star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns last March.

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During the pre-draft process, neither Texans general manager Nick Caserio nor first-year head coach DiMaco Ryan committed to using a first-rounder on a quarterback. Ryans, however, teased the possibility in April.

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“We have some good, really good quarterback prospects at the top of the draft,” Ryans said, “and we want to add a young quarterback to our team.” We think it would be Anderson worth doing. Our team. We feel we have a good nucleus of players. I still want to add some competition to that quarterback position, and this year, there are two good guys at the top that we’ve seen and we’re very valuable. So we’re excited about the draft to get to that No. 2 spot.”

At Ohio State, Stroud enjoyed a two-year run, throwing for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns while compiling a 21-4 record. In 2022, he led the Football Bowl Subdivision in quarterback rating (177.7) and was named a Heisman Trophy finalist. He nearly had a career-best performance (348 yards, four touchdowns) in the College Football Playoff to lead Ohio State to an upset over eventual national champion Georgia.

“I think I’m a playmaker,” Stroud said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think I’m very creative and I think I’m smart when it comes to security and things like that. Because I saw a lot of problems before they were there. That’s something I pride myself on. feel

“One thing about me, I think I’m a ball placement specialist. That’s one thing, I like to be very accurate. I don’t want my receivers to have to do anything but catch the ball. I think I’ve shown that. That time and time on film.”

On Wednesday, Stroud pushed back after reports that he scored low on the S2 cognitive test, which is designed to measure how quickly a player can process information.

“I know I can process pretty well and I know I’m pretty smart,” Stroud told reporters at a pre-draft community service event. “You can’t play at Ohio State and not be smart, and for people – for the S2 test, that’s what happened. It happened and I’m ready to stick around and I have no excuses. I, however, did what I did on that field. Know what you can do.”

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Anderson became Alabama’s first two-time unanimous All-American. He was ranked as the best player in the draft by several services, including USA TODAY Sports.

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium.

The Texans finished 3-13-1 last season, narrowly missing out on the top pick in the final weekend. Houston’s win over the Indianapolis Colts in the finale helped propel the Chicago Bears to the top spot.

The Bears later traded the No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers, who took Alabama quarterback Bryce Young to open Thursday’s draft.

Stroud appears poised to take over the reins from Davis Mills, a 2021 third-round pick who started 26 games over the past two years.

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