The Houston Texans have laid out the blueprint for a successful rebuild. General manager Nick Caserio decided that the 2023 off-season would be a franchise-altering one. He started off by signing 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to head the team. Despite concerns regarding his ability to play out of structure, the Texans selected QB C.J. Stroud as the second overall pick, entrusting him with the franchise’s future. Caserio then traded a haul of draft picks to move up to #3 and take Will Anderson Jr., the talented edge rusher from Alabama.
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It didn’t end here for Houston; as we have seen so often with young quarterbacks, their supporting cast is linked to their production. Caserio drafted WR Nathaniel “Tank” Dell out of SMU in the second round. Additionally, he signed two former Dallas Cowboys in free agency, TE Dalton Schultz and WR Noah Brown. These three guys together have amassed over 400 receiving yards so far this year. It was a slow start to the season, as the Texans dropped their first two games, but the team has now won five of their last seven. This includes a road upset against Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
The Texans’ transformation has occurred due to a plethora of reasons, but the guy who has spearheaded their success is C.J. Stroud. Stroud isn’t merely excelling by rookie standards; he has firmly positioned himself as one of the top-tier NFL quarterbacks. The Ohio State product has thrown for 2,568 yards and has an incredible 15-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In the last two weeks, the Texans have battled in tight contests against the Buccaneers and Bengals. On each occasion, Stroud orchestrated game-winning drives.
Photo Cred: SI
When the Texans’ offense got the ball in a tie game with a little over a minute remaining, there was little doubt in most fan’s minds that Stroud would get the Texans within field goal range and win the game. This confidence that fans feel cannot be quantified, but it is something that only the elite QBs can instill in you. The fact that Stroud already has is very telling. What the Texans are doing is truly incredible!
We have seen teams make drastic turnarounds, but remember that Houston is doing this with a rookie head coach AND quarterback, which is all the more remarkable. Ryans has established himself as a franchise coach, and Stroud has positioned himself as the clear favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He’s even emerged as one of the MVP frontrunners! According to the New York Times, the Texans currently have a 61% chance to make the playoffs, despite being as low as 9% at the beginning of the year. However the rest of the season turns out, the Houston Texans are sure to be contenders in the future.