Debate carries on that Texans traded up to take C.J. Stroud, not Will Anderson
The Houston Texans gave up sizable capital to take Alabama defensive end Will Anderson in the 2023 NFL draft.
While that may be the matter of de jure, fans and media still consider the trade with the Arizona Cardinals to be a de facto trade for Stroud. Essentially if the Texans had stuck with their board at No. 2 and taken Anderson, who they had rated higher than Stroud, then any of the other quarterback-needy teams could have got on the phone with the Cardinals to make a deal to move up to No. 3 overall.
According to Peter King from NBC Sports, Texans general manager Nick Caserio is still sticking by the official narrative that the trade was always about Anderson, and that Stroud had nothing to do with it.
Now, if the pick Houston traded ends up being for one of the franchise quarterbacks who turns out to be a Mahomes or Burrow, and if Anderson isn’t a standout star, you can bet the Texans will take heat for the trade. For the record, this is what Caserio told me on the trade to three:
Me: “You traded franchise-quarterback compensation to go get Anderson. You felt that strongly about Anderson.”
Caserio: “When you make a trade, there’s gonna be compensation involved with it. The terms are the terms and you’re either comfortable with the terms or you’re not. How we look at it, really—it’s really two extra picks that we really gave up. Essentially, we were gonna pick in the first round anyways. We had 12 (the 12th overall pick). So we really didn’t give up anything other than move. It’s really more positioning. So really the two additional picks next year were sort of the extra capital if you look at it in real terms.”
Me: “It’s a lot though, a one and a three.”
Caserio: “In the end, you accumulate assets and then you use them at your disposal.”
Houston assuredly used their assets at their disposal to take picks two and three overall. Clutch City sports fans have great expectations due to the capital surrendered and the anticipation 2023 is the end of the rebuild.
Texans' 2023 draft class may define the Nick Caserio era