Now that the 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Houston Texans won the first night by scoring two of the top three picks, we can assess where teams stand entering the opening kickoff of the 2023 regular season.
The Texans needed that splash, because they are looking to rebuild from three disastrous years with a combined record of 11-38-1 and each season included the firing of a coach — Bill O’Brien, David Culley and Lovie Smith.
It’s been a mighty fall for the organization that won the AFC South in 2019, beat the Buffalo Bills in a playoff game and led the Chiefs 24-0 in the divisional round playoff game before losing 51-31.
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Texans 2023 NFL Draft Class
- 1st round (2nd pick): C.J. Stroud (QB)
- 1st round (3rd pick): Will Anderson Jr. (DL)
- 2nd round (62nd pick): Juice Scruggs (OL)
- 3rd round (69th pick): Nathaniel Dell (WR)
- 4th round (109th pick): Dylan Horton (DL)
- 5th round (167th pick): Henry To’oTo’o (LB)
- 6th round (201st pick): Jarrett Patterson (OL)
- 6th round (205th pick): Xavier Hutchinson (WR)
- 7th round (248th pick): Brandon Hill (DB)
Even after the draft, BetMGM lists the Texans with the second-worst odds to win the Super Bowl at +12500. When betting does become legal in the state, BetTexas.com will have BetMGM Texas bonus codes.
A Look at Texans Rookie Production
Using Pro Football Reference’s Weighted Career Approximate Value (wAV) system, BetTexas.com stacked up Houston’s 2022 draft class.
The Texans had four players earn at least 5 wAV, led by safety Jalen Pitre, a second-round pick, with 7. Linebacker Christian Harris (third round) and running back Dameon Pierce (fourth round) each produced with a wAV of 6 and offensive lineman Kenyon Green (first round) had a 5, so it’s clear to see the 2022 draft class provided immediate help for the Texans’ roster.
Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (first round) came in with a 3, two others had a 1 and receiver John Metchie (second round) missed the year with leukemia, so he could be an added bonus this year.
If Houston’s two first-rounders, quarterback C.J. Stroud from Ohio State and defensive lineman Will Anderson Jr., out of Alabama, step in right away and get the team close to .500, the Texans will be well on their way to a successful rebuild.
Nathaniel Dell, who played for the University of Houston, gets to stay in town and will join Metchie and new signees Noah Brown and Robert Woods at the receiver position.
New coach DeMeco Ryans has set a standard for defense both as a player at Alabama and in the NFL with the Texans and the Eagles and as the defensive coordinator with the 49ers. Moving up to draft Anderson shows Ryans is looking to craft the team in his image.
In all, the team took four defenders, and if they can match what Pitre, Harris and Stingley provided in 2022, Houston’s defense could start shaping up as one of the AFC’s best very quickly.
Re-Ranking 2022 NFL Draft Class
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Texans 2022 Draft Class Ranked 4th
Houston’s 2022 draft class made the top 5 because of its balance on offense and defense and also out of necessity. The void of talent on the Texans’ roster meant the rookies had to step in and play right away.
Their impact didn’t show up in the standings, as the Texans finished 3-13-1 with the second-worst record in the league, and it would have been the worst if not for a late two-point conversion in the season finale.
Seven of the team’s first nine picks played at least nine games, led by Pitre at 17 games. Green, a Houston area high school grad who played at Texas A&M, started 14 of the 15 games he played, and he was credited with just seven penalties.
The Texans found a strong runner in Harris in the fourth round as he finished with 939 yards rushing, averaged 4.3 yards per carry and caught 30 passes.
The defensive trio of Pitre (147 tackles, 5 interceptions), Stingley (43 tackles) and Harris (74 tackles) gives Ryans something to build around when it comes to Anderson.
Both of Houston’s first-round picks should be Week 1 starters, with Stroud taking over for Davis Mills (3-10-1 as a starter and a 78.8 QB rating), and Anderson giving the Texans someone who can get after the quarterback right now.
Stroud ranks third on BetMGM’s odds for Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year at +300, while Anderson ranks No. 1 for the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year odds at +350.
If the 2023 class can match or surpass the value the Texans got from the 2022 draft class, it’s a good bet Houston won’t be picking so high in the 2024 draft. Making the playoffs would still be a long shot, but it’s starting to look like the Texans have figured out how to crawl out from the hole they started digging in 2020.