Texans Draft 2023: First Round Targets: Week 17 Update

Oct 22, 2022; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee (11) celebrates sacking Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Texans Draft 2023: First Round Targets: Week 17 Update

Each week, we update the Houston Texans’ draft position in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft and assess possible draft targets.

As of Dec. 26, through 16 weeks of the NFL season, the Houston Texans currently hold the first and 11th picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. The first overall pick is their own pick, and the 11th pick is the Cleveland Browns’ pick owed to Houston as part of the Deshaun Watson trade.

First Overall Pick: This remains a relative tossup between Bryce Young of Alabama and C.J. Stroud of Ohio State. There really shouldn’t be any other players in this conversation. Young and Stroud are the two best draft-eligible quarterbacks in this class, and the Texans will have their choice of who they prefer.

While most of the hype is on Young, the lean here is still to Stroud. Both quarterbacks will have at least one bowl game to show off their stuff some more, as Young has said he will play for the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl against Kansas State, and Stroud will face top-ranked Georgia in the CFP Semifinal.

One player outshining the other here could have a small impact on current sentiment, but ultimately both will be judged on their two-year body of work. A disastrous game could have a more significant impact on current sentiment, as teams want to see a potential franchise player be at their best when the lights shine brightest.

Young’s talent is undeniable, but his size works against him. He will likely measure under six feet tall and under 200 pounds. He would be the only quarterback in the NFL playing at under 200 pounds. In a game of hulking defenders bearing down on quarterbacks with alarming frequency, Stroud’s more traditional size gives him the edge, in my opinion.

Eleventh Overall Pick: Following a 17-10 home loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Cleveland Browns currently slot into the 11th pick in the draft, a pick owned by the Houston Texans as part of the Deshaun Watson trade.

Watson was terrible again in Week 16, albeit in frigid conditions. Watson finished 15-for-31 for only 135 yards and an interception. The Browns’ only touchdown came courtesy of a very short field where a Grant Delpit interception of Saints quarterback Andy Dalton allowed the Browns to start the drive at the Saints 30-yard line. Watson was sacked twice and only hit four times, so he was not under siege. He just continues to show significant rust after his long period of inactivity.

Players previously mentioned in this draft range have been:

Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey

TCU WR Quentin Johnston

Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson

Northwestern OL Peter Skoronski

USC WR Jordan Addison

Clemson DE Myles Murphy

While Johnston and Smith-Njigba continue to be popular names mocked to the Texans, partly based on the idea that Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks will force his way off the team in the offseason, a deeper look at Cooks’ contract and Cooks’ comments following Houston’s Week 16 win in Nashville may show a different perspective.

Cooks is due a fully guaranteed $18 million salary next season with a cap hit of over $26.6 million. His two-year extension worth nearly $40 million doesn’t kick in until 2023. That contract is ultimately the biggest reason Texans general manager Nick Caserio couldn’t find a taker for him at the deadline. That situation is unlikely to change in the offseason, as Cooks’ production and injury issues this season have his production nowhere near that of an $18 million receiver. I don’t see Cooks voluntarily surrendering money to leave, either.

Cooks’ comments following Sunday’s win in Nashville, backing quarterback Davis Mills, speaking of missing his teammates and playing hard while on the field despite the season-long losing relevance all indicate that perhaps Cooks has either had a change of heart or is at least open to staying in Houston. It shouldn’t be hard for him nor his agent to figure out that his contract is nearly immovable.

With the financial hit to move Cooks being over $26.6 million, the Texans have every reason to patch up the relationship as well. With Cooks staying in the fold along with Nico Collins, Chris Moore, and a returning John Metchie III, the Texans don’t seem likely to need a receiver as much as they need help on the defensive line.

If a playmaking receiver isn’t the top need, then a playmaking edge rusher is. Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy possesses top-end speed (4.57) at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds. He is considered by many outlets to be the second-best defensive lineman and best defensive end in the draft. His star is also on the rise of late, and where a few weeks ago he may have projected to be available at 11, he currently is off the board much earlier in most recent mock drafts.

This could bring us to a new name on the list, Murphy’s Clemson teammate, defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. He is almost universally considered a top defensive lineman (often top 3) and a top 15 talent (often top 10). At 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, he can be a force in the middle. His 4.77 speed at that size is pretty impressive as well.

In his first season back from a torn ACL that prematurely ended his second season at Clemson, Bresee recorded 2½ sacks in seven games this season. He is considered among the elite interior defensive linemen in this class.

Defensive tackle may be an even bigger need for the Texans than defensive end, as Houston truly struggles with getting pressure up the middle as well as being able to close interior running lanes. Bresee could be the right combination of the best player and biggest need at 11. He is the pick here this week.

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *