Texans fans must adopt realistic expectations for 2023 NFL draft class
It has been one week since the Houston Texans made their first selection in the 2023 NFL fraft, and the city is still buzzing after hearing former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud’s name called.
While the fans who had gathered at the draft party at Miller Outdoor Theater were busy giving each other high-fives and chest bumps, celebrating what many believed was their franchise quarterback, the Houston Texans were back on the clock.
What was happening?
“Did the Texans make a trade for the third overall selection in the draft,” many fans asked each other with perplexed looks.
The tension was building as the time was ticking. Then the announcement was made that Houston had selected Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson and the crowd broke into another celebratory frenzy.
Many praised Texans general manager Nick Caserio and new coach DeMeco Ryans for securing two out of the top five players in this year’s draft.
That excitement would last over the next two days as Houston continued to add names such as Nathaniel “Tank” Dell, who played wide receiver just minutes away from NRG Stadium at the University of Houston.
For the first time in a while, the fanbase had a reason to feel excitement after enduring three seasons of terrible football that yielded a combined 11 total wins.
“I know everybody looks at me like I have ten heads when I say this, but a draft is a 50-50 proposition,” said Texans GM Nick Caserio about drafting the right players for the team. “There’s a lot of risk, and you’re not really sure how it’s going to go.” #Texans #Sarge pic.twitter.com/ntAbgnlUyq
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) May 4, 2023
Last year’s draft class consisted of talents such as running back Dameon Pierce, defensive backs Derek Stingley and Jalen Pitre, and offensive lineman Kenyon Green. The future is trending upward for the Texans.
Yet, for as optimistic as many of the Texans’ fanbase has been over social media and on local radio about the 2023 NFL draft class, there also must be some hesitation before crowning Houston the AFC South division winners before the players have been involved in one regular season game.
What if Caserio and Ryans got it wrong? What if former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who was taken No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers, has a better career than Stroud? Will the Texans regret not making the trade to move up with the Chicago Bears when they owned the top pick?
If Anderson does not become the second coming of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and former Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, does the amount of draft capital the team gave up for him be questioned yearly?
What if the additional pieces added in the later rounds do not meet the expectations?
It is okay for cautious and sometimes pessimistic fans to ask those types of questions, especially when the person in charge of making the right choices for the team does not know what the future holds for the young men he drafted.
“There’s really no guarantee,” said Nick Caserio about the players selected being successful for the Texans. “I know everybody looks at me like I have 10 heads when I say this, but a draft is a 50-50 proposition, I mean, it’s a coin flip. That’s just the reality. Nobody is really smarter, or in my case, probably dumber. There’s a lot of risk, and you’re not really sure how it’s going to go.
“So, you try to take the information. You try to process. You try to make good, sound, smart decisions, and hopefully, that manifests itself in positive results. So, really not going to know the answers to that here for a little bit. I think we positioned ourselves decently. It’s all about taking advantage of our opportunities. That’s the only thing that we can do, and the only thing we can control is our performance. Everybody in the organization, the only thing they can control is their performance on a day-to-day basis and do it consistently, do it to the best of your ability, and that’s all we can ever ask.”
There is a reason for the enthusiasm with the team who finally hired the right coach in Ryans after suffering through the David Culley and Lovie Smith years and acquiring the necessary veteran assets in the offseason to get the team back on track.
But you have to give these rookies, who don’t even have official jersey numbers yet, some time to get acclimated to the day-to-day routine of the NFL before putting Super Bowl expectations on them. Give them time to prove they were worth it before calling them superstars.
If history repeats itself, Caserio will have made the right choices as he did in 2022.
Just be patient and give it time.
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