After selecting C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick, the Texans are also moving up to No. 3. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), Houston has acquired the third overall pick from the Cardinals. The Texans will use that selection on Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter passes along the terms of the trade (via Twitter). The Texans have acquired picks No. 3 and No. 105 while sending Arizona picks No. 12, No. 33, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick.
This move comes as little surprise given previous reporting on the Texans’ desire to add Anderson, seen by some as the top defender in the class (and, more generally, their intention of trading up from No. 12). Many felt he could be the second overall pick, but Houston has been aggressive in ensuring it acquired Anderson while also adding a franchise QB.
While the team got there in a roundabout way — one that cost considerable draft capital — it landed its quarterback and prized edge defender. The team was believed to be deciding between Anderson and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson, who ended up going to the Raiders at No. 7. Houston’s trade-up certainly showed what the franchise thinks of the ex-Crimson Tide star. Anderson is likely to take on a large role in the team’s defense right away, given his track record from college.
The junior won the Bronko Nagurski award in each of the past two years as the top defender in the country. Anderson had massive production in 2021 with 17.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss. Those figures took a dip this past season, though, to 10 and 17 respectively. Still, Anderson racked up a number of individual accolades and projects as the safest option in a deep edge-rushing group this year. He should be a mainstay early on in his career with the Texans, a team which already looks much different than it did at the start of the day.
For the Cardinals, it comes as no surprise that they have moved down the board. Arizona is likely headed for a rebuild, so adding capital both this year and next outweighs the benefit which Anderson (or another high-end defender) would present. They will wait to see what options take shape at No. 12, though an impact rookie will surely be available regardless of how the board shakes out.