Texans Owner McNair: Ownership Didn’t Force C.J. Stroud Pick

In the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans were rumored to be out on the 2023 quarterback class. However, they selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall, something ownership didn’t force general manager Nick Caserio to do, Texans owner Cal McNair said on Monday.

“Hannah and I don’t make the picks. We’ll make it clear there,” McNair said during the 20th annual Houston Texans Charity Golf Classic. “We have a great group of scouts led by Nick [Caserio] and James Lippert, and they did a lot of work on the draft board, and then they followed that on draft day, and they moved up when they saw the value was there and moved back.”

The popular sentiment before the draft was the Texans would not draft a quarterback at No. 2 overall and select Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson instead. That didn’t happen, but the Texans sent a huge haul of picks — No. 12, No. 33, and a future first-rounder — to the Arizona Cardinals for No. 3 overall to draft Anderson.

The trade-up for Anderson sparked rumors McNair forced Caserio to take Stroud at No. 2, even though Caserio and the Texans’ scouting staff wanted Anderson. McNair’s comments on Monday paint a much different picture. Plus, the Texans were without a franchise quarterback, making Stroud’s selection seem inevitable for much of the pre-draft process.

The 33rd Team analyst Joe Banner applauded the Texans’ aggressiveness on draft night but cautioned against expecting too much from Anderson.

“People should know Anderson is not Myles Garrett,” Banner said during the first round. “I don’t even think he’s Bradley Chubb. No question, he’s a good player, and I’ll give DeMeco Ryans the benefit of the doubt. He comes in from San Francisco, so it’s no mystery what he believes in and what he wants to do. This is a good start. But people should have realistic expectations.”

The Texans have struggled the past three seasons, going 11-38-1 during that span. Ryans is the team’s third coach in as many seasons. Despite the team’s recent failings, McNair is confident it will take major strides in 2023.

“I think you just have to look at the roster, and I think it’s a better roster this year, very competitive,” McNair said. “They want to have competition spots on the roster. So, I see a lot of progress. A lot of good things.”

Regardless of who wanted Stroud and Anderson, they’ll have to lead the Texans’ rebuild this season.

WATCH: Stroud Adds to AFC South Arms Race

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