What draft grades have the media given to the Houston Texans? What are they saying about the Texans' 2023 draft haul?
NFL.com - Grade: B+
Horton is a good example of the kind of power end new head coach DeMeco Ryans used when he was defensive coordinator of the 49ers. I thought Hutchinson was a fourth- or early-fifth round value as a future No. 2 option. Ryans had to see a bit of his own instinctual play in To'oTo'o, for whom the Texans traded up from No. 174 to No. 167. Hill was an excellent seventh-round selection.
ESPN - Grade: B
That's why I was always confused by the rumblings they could pass on a quarterback at No. 2. Were they really going to trot out Davis Mills in Week 1 again? Sanity prevailed, and they took C.J. Stroud there. The stunner happened right afterward. Houston traded pick Nos. 12 and 33 plus first- and third-rounders in 2024 for pick Nos. 3 and 105. It then drafted top-ranked edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. (3), giving the team two of my top-five prospects overall. Normally, I'd say that's amazing for the Texans, but they gave up a ton to make it happen, as I wrote Thursday night. I don't expect them to compete for the AFC South title this season, which means that 2024 first-round selection could be a coup for the Cardinals. Ultimately, general manager Nick Caserio & Co. will talk about the prospects they added; but at this time next year, they could be in real trouble.
On Day 2, Houston reached significantly -- and traded up to do so -- for center Juice Scruggs, though I'm a fan of wideout/returner Tank Dell and what he could bring to this offseason. Give Dell the ball in space and let him score touchdowns. On Day 3, Houston added back a 2024 third-rounder in a deal with Philadelphia, which was a nice move. I also think linebacker Henry To'oTo'o (167) and wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson (205) could be solid finds.
This is another class that will hinge on what happens with the quarterback. And though I didn't love giving up the future draft capital, I do think Anderson has All-Pro potential. That's why I'll leave this as a B.
SI - Grade: A
PFF - Grade: B-
The Texans shock everyone and move up to No. 3 to select the top edge defender on the PFF big board. Anderson produced a PFF grade of 89.8 in 2021 and 83.6 in 2022 and racked up 207 total pressures in three years at Alabama. Houston lands a top player, but they pay a steep price.
Day 2: Scruggs comes off the board before Ohio State's Luke Wypler after producing 67.5 and 71.5 PFF grades in each of the past two seasons. The 138th-ranked player on the PFF big board, there's still plenty of development needed, and he is likely scheme dependent. He produced a 72.6 PFF run-blocking grade on zone plays and a 62.9 PFF grade on gap plays.
Dell recorded 928 receiving yards out of the slot in 2022, 10th in the nation, with his 19 missed tackles forced a top-25 mark. While he's undersized, he creates separation with ease and is extremely difficult to mirror in coverage. Houston adds another dynamic weapon for new quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Day 3: Houston traded down twice to kick off the day and still land a solid prospect at a position of need, as Horton is set to develop alongside No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. Horton is a safety convert who has added a bunch of weight while maintaining plus athleticism. He posted pass-rush and run-defense grades above 70.0 in 2022.
To'oTo'o is a downhill, physical linebacker with a ton of big-game experience as a starter at Tennesee and Alabama. Much like Noah Sewell, To'oTo'o brings it in the run game but doesn't always diagnose well in coverage. He is a physical presence who isn't afraid of anybody. He'll bring solid on-field and intangible value to the to a Texans team that's trying to change its culture.
Hill is a safety who plays mainly in the slot and only gave up one touchdown in coverage this year after giving up six in 2021.
Fox Sports - Grade: B+
USA Today - Grade: A
The Ringer - Grade: B+
Sporting News - Grade: A-
Touchdown Wire - Grade: B
The steal of this draft, though, is Xavier Hutchinson in the sixth round. No clue how he lasted this long, but he's a potential WR1 in the NFL with speed, route awareness, and nuance to get open in contested situations.
The Texans have gone through a lot in the Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby eras. They needed a solid draft with franchise-defining players up top, and the fact that they did that is a positive step. But Will Anderson Jr. had better be something else...
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