Getty Images

The Houston Texans, the owners of the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, have narrowed down their quarterback search to two passers, according to NFL Media: Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, the consensus top two quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. The Texans reportedly aren't sweating one or the other being selected ahead of them by the Carolina Panthers after they traded up from the ninth overall pick to the top of the draft

"The Texans have the mindset right now of, 'Let's see who gets picked at number one, and we'll take the other guy,'" James Palmer reported on NFL Network, "because both of them [Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud] check a lot of boxes. You heard what [head coach] DeMeco Ryans said: It's really down to the two of them, and they're evaluating both of them. If you listen to any of the the decision-makers down there in Houston, they'll tell you, 'We're not going to compare the two, but they both check a lot of the boxes that we want checked on the field and off the field.'"

Palmer noted that there are certain things Ryans looks for that Young and Stroud have that the other top quarterback prospects, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson, maybe don't have. The first is experience, which Palmer said is "valued heavily" by Ryans and his coaching staff. Both Young and Stroud have played not only in a lot of games, but also in a lot of big, important ones.

Ryans also values leadership. He's praised Young for having that trait publicly, and when the Texans met with Stroud, they talked about his competitiveness and desire to win, Palmer said. 

"It's really the intangibles that stand out as important factors for DeMeco Ryans," Palmer said. "Both these guys check a lot of those boxes, so it's a really different spot that they're in compared to the Carolina Panthers right now as they're going through this process and looking at both of these guys, who most of the people in the league consider a 1A and a 1B at the quarterback spot."

Ryans spoke specifically about Young's intangibles at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix last week before going back to the general coach-speak about both passers. 

"I know Bryce is an outstanding leader from what I've seen, and is an outstanding quarterback," Ryans said March 28, via Houston's 790 AM. "It's no surprise the success that he's had. Just because of the makeup, the type of guy that he is, it's no surprise the success he's had. Wishing him the best moving forward. Two good players, two good quality quarterbacks. We'll see what happens in the draft."

Ryans' last point is the most important one: even if the Texans prefer Young or Stroud, they'll have to settle for whomever the Panthers decide not to take on April 27, the night of the 2023 NFL Draft's opening round.