How the Houston Texans can avoid an unmistakable draft trap

Texans Nick Caserio, CJ Stroud, Bryce Young
It's time for the Texans to draft their next QB. Composite image by Brandon Strange, photos by Getty Images.
How all signs point to the Houston Texans finally taking the plunge

The Houston Texans are reportedly hosting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud on Wednesday. With the NFL Draft roughly three weeks away, we're seeing a lot of smoke and mirrors around the league.

Earlier in the week, Peter King tossed out the possibility of the Texans taking a defensive player, such as Alabama’s Will Anderson, at No. 2 instead of a quarterback.

While in theory, Houston has the capital to take a defensive player and then either trade back up to get a quarterback in this year’s draft or punt all together for next year’s class of play calling prospects, doing so could be a huge mistake for the Texans.

The most important position in the NFL is at quarterback.

This past season’s final four teams in the postseason featured Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy. While only three of those players are fully established, even San Francisco’s Purdy was playing at a high level leading into championship Sunday.

When Purdy went down with injury, the juggernaut offense of the 49ers became a skeleton of itself despite weapons like Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle still on the field.

While Anderson is an impressive prospect, the Texans have first-hand experience that not even a dominant defensive star, like J.J. Watt, is enough to overcome a subpar offense led by an average-to-below-average quarterback as was the case in 2014 and 2015.

USC’s Caleb Williams is next year’s consensus top pick but nothing is guaranteed in football. Williams could have a down season that plummets his stock, just look at Spencer Rattler. While that probably won’t happen, there is also the factor of Houston winning more games.

After three straight seasons of having four or fewer wins, the Texans could finally get out of the NFL’s basement, meaning the team would have to trade up to put itself in position to get the top quarterback in 2024.

Or the Texans can avoid having to pay that hefty price altogether. They are guaranteed to have a shot at taking either Stroud or Alabama’s Bryce Young. If they want, they can take Anthony Richardson or Will Levis too.

Houston wants to forget about the Deshaun Watson era for many reasons, but think back to the first six weeks of the 2017 season. It was clear that Watson was a special quarterback, as he left Texans fans in awe with spectacular performances week in and week out before he tore his ACL.

The city’s fans are hungry to experience that hope and joy from its pro football once again. Houston needs to take its quarterback at No. 2 and build the rest of the team after that.

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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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