The Texans have had a rough go of it since their last playoff appearance, as Houston has gone 11-36 since the end of the 2019 season, and it's time to get serious about rebuilding.
There's a clear need at quarterback and the Texans hold the No. 2 overall pick. That selection absolutely has to be a passer. No questions asked. After that, this is a roster that simply needs gobs of talent at essentially every position, so positional value should be prioritized over specific need.
Here's a 2023 NFL Draft projection for the AFC South squad.
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2023 NFL Draft
No. 2 overall: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
You're surprised this isn't Bryce Young. Let me explain. Of course it's about simply finding the best quarterback possible for a team like the Texans in a draft position like this one. Doing so is not that simple, though, and how much upside does Young truly have? At No. 2 overall, I'd want a quarterback who I love and I believe will improve in the NFL thanks to some type of high-end traits. Stroud is a little younger than Young, has a strong arm, and is a noticeably bigger. He's not as bouncy in/out of the pocket but looks like an NFL-ready passer. Plus, there's a good chance another club trades with the Bears at No. 1 overall to pick Young anyway.
No. 13 overall: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
Do the Texans go offensive tackle then receiver or vice versa with these two selections? In this mock, it's the former, and the Buckeyes theme is starting to materialize. Johnson checks just about all the boxes teams will have for a first-round franchise-caliber left tackle, and he spent the past two seasons protecting Stroud in Columbus. Perfect.
Round 2: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Boutte may have some off-field questions to answer, but on the field he's a dynamic mover with plus YAC skills. Sure, he didn't have as good of a 2022 as we all expected. But we saw it in 2021. He was tracking toward being a first-round pick. With Boutte the Texans would add size and speed to the receiver room and allow Stroud to connect on easy completions that could occasionally turn into big gains.
Round 3: Byron Young, EDGE, Tennessee
Young is an older prospect. That's fine because he's ready to rush the passer in the NFl tomorrow. He's so explosive off the ball and wraps the corner tightly and can deploy some pass-rush counters off his outside speed rush. The Texans have to add some youth on the perimeter of their defensive line. Young in Round 3 would represent great value.
Round 3: Luke Wypler, C, Ohio State
Wypler makes it a hat trick for Ohio State prospects drafted by the Texans. As a redshirt sophomore, there may be some concern with Wypler's NFL readiness, and I certainly get that. But his long-term upside is All-Pro center hiking the ball to Stroud in Houston. He's athletic, nasty, and finds work out in space at the second level of runs and on screens.
Round 4: Karl Brooks, EDGE/DT, Bowling Green
Brooks is one of the most fascinating defensive prospects in the entire class. Because he's built like a sleek defensive tackle yet was ultra-productive as a classic, stand-up rush linebacker in the MAC over the past two seasons. Inside, his suddenness and lightning-quick pass-rush moves make him nearly impossible for interior blockers to get their hands on and control. He'd be a fun piece to add to this barren Texans front.