Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race In The Perspective Of Chase’, a close to daily NFL article previewing your favorite teams season! The Houston Texans will…let’s just say be an option to watch winning football this year, but you won’t see a ton of it! However, that doesn’t mean this is going to be a boring team to watch! How will C.J. Stroud do in his rookie season? Which receiver will emerge after the departure of Brandin Cooks? Will Anderson was added to the defense. What steps will the defense take? They are one of the best rebuilding teams to watch this upcoming season! Here is what I think about the Houston Texans going into the 2023 season!
It has to be answered: How will C.J. Stroud do in his rookie campaign?
Ever since the Deshaun Watson incident and trade, the Texans have been one of the worst teams in football. In 2021, it was a 4-13 team with the third overall pick, and in 2022, it was a 3-13-1 team and the second overall pick. They were running with Davis Mills at quarterback with a very below average receiver. So they’ve had to utilize the draft. The 2022 draft, in retrospect, it looks terrible that they took Derek Stingley over Sauce Gardner but Stingley still has massive potential in this league.
It was the 2023 draft that seems like the one that can be the difference maker. But before we talk about the draft, we have to talk how the 2022 Texans did. Quick note, it was pretty bad. At quarterback, Davis Mills wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t anywhere close to being a good QB, threw for just over 3100 yards, 17 touchdowns and tied Dak Prescott for an NFL leading 15 interceptions. Not to mention a 61% completion percentage, just 6.5 yards per attempt, 78.8 passer rating and 33.1 QBR. And most of his statistics were actually worse than his 2021 campaign. It was obvious Houston had to move on from Mills.
In the running game, 4th round pick Dameon Pierce won the tight running back job, and had a very nice 939 yards and four touchdowns in just 13 games. And he was Houston’s only player to have over 130 yards rushing. Pierce is a very talented running back inside the red zone and just in general with decent speed and incredible strength. Progression should be expected in 2023. In the receiving game, it was obviously Brandin Cooks leading the the team in yards, but Chris Moore was right behind him with 548, Jordan Akins with 495 and Nico Collins with 481. It will be interesting to see which one of them emerges as the first option in 2023. Personally, I think it will be Moore due to his speed, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Defensively, Jalen Pitre was a bright spark as the 2nd round rookie SAFETY had a team leading 147 tackles, a mark that ranked him 11th in football. Pitre should continue to develop in 2023. Jerry Hughes continued to consistently get in the backfield, as he totaled nine sacks and 10 QB hits. Derek Stingley had an okay rookie season, with one interception and five passes defended, but his ability in one-on-one coverage was the most intriguing part of his game.
There weren’t many players to mention because, well, they didn’t have too many bright sparks. But the reason why I was excited to write this article was because of their pickups in the 2023 NFL draft. Houston had the 2nd overall pick, and they used that pick to select C.J. Stroud. But Houston wasn’t done. They then traded their 12th overall pick, the 33rd pick, and a first and third rounder in 2024 to get the third overall pick, a pick they used to select Alabama standout pass rusher Will Anderson.
First, let’s talk about Stroud. Stroud is one of my favorite rookies, because I think he’s going to be really good! While he is not quite NFL ready, and his first pre-season game showed that—he had 78 yards, no touchdowns and an interception—he is still an incredible talent who had over 8,000 passing yards, 85 touchdowns, just 12 interceptions and completed close to 70% of his passes in his two seasons as a starter at OSU. He was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022, and was incredible on the big stage, passing for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns, and was a field goal away from eliminating the eventual national champion Georgia Bulldogs in the semi-final. While he has some weaknesses, I think Stroud is going to have a very good career, and the Texans are lucky to have him.
Now, I don’t exactly feel the same way about Anderson. And the thing is, it has nothing to do with Anderson. He was incredible at Alabama, as he was a two time SEC defensive player of the year, including a 2021 season where he had 17.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss! He is probably the most NFL ready player in the entire class. And he has potential to grow. But, for Minnesota to give up two top 33 picks in this draft and their first round pick that will probably be top five next year to me, is a little too much to give up. That pick next year could be Marvin Harrison Jr. Is that much worse than Anderson? My point is, Anderson will be great, but because of the value they gave up for him, I’m not sure it was the right move.
The Texans made some other moves in the offseason that I liked as well. Trading Cooks for some draft capital was a great move, since he no longer shows significant value to this team. I like the signing of Devin Singletary to take pressure off of both Stroud and Pierce, and I like adding Dalton Shultz at tight end as a consistent option Stroud knows he could find. I also really like the signing of Shaquill Griffin, who despite an up and down career since his Pro Bowl campaign in 2019, is still a good cornerback who should add some nice value to this young team.
I think there are many things to be excited about for Houston. I think Stroud is going to have a nice rookie campaign, and I think he’ll prove his doubters wrong in 2023. I think Dameon Pierce will have another nice season. It think Chris Moore will emerge and turn into a decent receiver and one of Stroud’s favorite options. Now, I don’t think this will turn into many wins, but Houston fans should be very excited about the young pieces they have on this team, and they should be fun to watch in 2023!
Prediction: Texans win no more than 5 games, but Stroud is a finalist for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Anderson is a finalist for Defensive Rookie of the Year!
Wiz Talk with Chase
Cool Sports Network
Twitter: Chase Coburn (@coolsportskid)
Sports 4 Kids: youtube.com/sports4kids126