The Houston Texans will have the first-overall pick in the 2023 Draft after their poor 2022 campaign. Lovie Smith failed to improve the fortunes of the franchise after inheriting a struggling outfit from David Culley. General manager Nick Caserio is in the process of a rebuilding operation, although he too is under pressure in his role. Caserio has to nail the first pick in the 2023 Draft otherwise he will not be on the clock again for Houston in 2024.
Fortunately for Caserio, there are quality options available at quarterback to revitalize the fortunes of the Texans which took a massive dip due to Deshaun Watson’s off-the-field behavior that made his tenure in Houston untenable, prompting his trade to Cleveland.
Caserio has shown that he can identify talent after a longstanding tenure in New England working under Bill Belichick and has already made an impression in Houston with selections such as Dameon Pierce, Derek Stingley, Kenyon Green, Jalen Pitre and Christian Harris.
Pierce’s performances at running back have made him an outside contender for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, and you can enjoy the best NFL odds of +7700 for him to triumph. It presents great value although it will be an uphill challenge considering the amount of young talent that has thrived in the league in 2022, including fellow running back Kenneth Walker Jr.
The bright side for the Texans is that they have seemingly hit on the majority of their picks from the 2022 Draft, giving them a foundation to build on. But it is moot without a quarterback. Davis Mills has struggled, but the situation around the 23-year-old has not been conducive to success. Houston will hit the reset button at quarterback, but Mills has done enough to suggest he can have a long career in the NFL at the very least.
Should the Texans gamble on Young?
However, the Texans have to move on with the quality available at the top of the 2023 Draft.
Bryce Young is seemingly the consensus pick after a stellar career at Alabama. Young was a five-star recruit out of high school and was a coup for the Crimson Tide when they snatched him away from USC. Although the National Championship evaded Young in his two seasons in Alabama, he did win the Heisman Trophy in 2021 and continued to excel in the 2022 campaign with outstanding performances.
He has all the attributes to succeed in the NFL with an incredible arm and nous to read opposing defenses.
However, there will be natural concerns about whether he has the endurance to play as a quarterback in the NFL. At 6 foot tall, he is below the average height for a typical NFL quarterback, while his frame is also on the leaner side. There will be natural comparisons to Tua Tagovailoa, who has struggled to remain on the field with the Miami Dolphins for a litany of injury reasons.
Baker Mayfield is another example of a quarterback who was selected first overall without the traditional characteristics of an NFL prototype at the position. Mayfield had a bright start in Cleveland before teams worked him and the Browns out, resulting in their move for Watson.
Russell Wilson did make it work for almost a decade in Seattle, winning a Super Bowl and reaching another before losing on the final play to the Patriots. However, his move to the Denver Broncos has been a disaster for all concerned and he faces a huge 2023 season to prove that he can bounce back.
Caserio will be under pressure to make the right pick with C.J. Stroud perhaps possessing the more durable frame for the NFL and boasting a similar level of excellence on the field with Ohio State. It’s not a decision that Caserio can afford to get wrong as it would result in another miserable season on the field for the Texans, which could cost him his job.