Texans crisis averted: C.J. Stroud declares for draft

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Reggie Hildred/CSM/Shutterstock (13630786aq) Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) looks to pass during the NCAA football game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes at SECU Stadium in College Park, MD NCAA Football Ohio State vs Maryland, College Park, USA – 19 Nov 2022

Texans crisis averted: C.J. Stroud declares for draft

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud waited until the last minute but officially declared for the NFL Draft Monday.

As if losing the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft wasn’t bad enough, and as if allowing the hated Indianapolis Colts to move up in the draft didn’t adding insult to injury, only one of the top two quarterbacks entering the draft would have been the coup de grace for the Houston Texans. Had Stroud chosen to return to Ohio State, Houston would have likely been on the outside looking in when it comes to drafting one of the two most-coveted quarterbacks – Stroud and Alabama signal-caller Bryce Young.

That final crisis has fortunately been averted.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud officially declared for the draft Monday, the last day for declaration.

Stroud entering the draft puts the two best college quarterback prospects expected to be in the 2023 draft actually in it. Both Stroud and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young are worthy of being the top overall pick, but only one can claim the mantle. The other will likely have to settle for being No. 2.

After winning a meaningless game Week 18 against the Colts, second is where the Texans will pick. The Chicago Bears, who beat the Texans earlier in the season, have the top spot after finishing 3-14. The Texans finished 3-13-1.

By virtue of that win, the Colts moved up to No. 4 in the draft, and are very much in striking distance for a trade with Chicago to the top spot to draft a quarterback. The Colts are heavily rumored to be willing to do whatever it takes to trade up to No. 1 to draft the player they hope will be their next franchise quarterback.

The price of that pick, if Stroud had not declared, would likely have exploded as Young would be the unquestioned top quarterback. Without Stroud, it was feasible that the Texans’ best option would have been to sign a free agent quarterback (like Jimmy Garoppolo or Derek Carr) and drafted best-available defensive players at No. 2 and No. 12. With Stroud in the draft, they will have whichever quarterback is not selected at No. 1 with the Bears expected to be trading down out of the pick.

Without Stroud, Lovie Smith’s ultimate treachery would have been complete. It was a very real possibility all weekend long.

With Stroud’s declaration, the Texans will draft the player they feel can be a franchise quarterback with the second overall pick. They can’t control whether it will be Young or Stroud, but at least they will have one of them.

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