C.J. Stroud

Texans’ C.J. Stroud To Return In Week 17

3:19pm: Stroud will be back under center after two missed games. Following his return to practice, Stroud has cleared concussion protocol. The Texans removed the rookie standout from their injury report, putting him on track to return to action in Week 17.

11:12am: Continuing to make progress in his recovery from a concussion, C.J. Stroud has taken another important step forward. The Texans quarterback has resumed practicing, an encouraging sign for his Week 17 availability.

As detailed by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, Stroud is now in the fourth of five stages in the league’s concussion protocol. As a result, he remains on track to receive clearance in time for Houston’s New Year’s Eve game against the Titans. That is the expected return date for the Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and such a development would do wonders for the Texans’ playoff push.

Stroud has missed the past two games, and Houston surprisingly turned to Case Keenum in his place. The latter helped lead the team to an overtime victory in his 2023 debut, but he struggled last week against the Browns. Keenum was benched mid-game in favor of Davis Mills, who has spent much of the year as Stroud’s backup. Having their starter back in the lineup would give a critical boost to the Texans’ offense, a unit which has generally impressed in 2023.

The No. 2 pick has posted 3,631 passing yards while posting a 20:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his rookie year. Stroud has added 143 yards and another three scores on the ground, part of his overall ability to guide a transitioning Texans team toward an unexpected playoff berth. Sitting at 8-7, Houston still has a chance to win the AFC South or secure a wild-card spot.

Having a healthy Stroud in place would be a signficant development considering the number of backup quarterbacks in place throughout the AFC playoff picture. The Ohio State product still has work to do to clear the final stage of the protocol, so his continued improvement over the coming days will be a story to follow closely. As was the case over the weekend, though, signs point to a crucial late-season return.

Texans’ C.J. Stroud Ruled Out; QB In Play To Return In Week 17

DECEMBER 24: Although the Texans will officially be without their starting quarterback for a second straight week, he has a decent chance to come back on New Year’s Eve. Stroud’s symptoms are subsiding, per Wilson, who adds he has a decent chance of resuming some football activities this week. The Ohio State product has indeed shown progress while in concussion protocol, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter indicates there is optimism about a return for the team’s Week 17 game against the Titans.

DECEMBER 20: The Texans made an unexpected switch for Week 15, moving to Case Keenum rather than Davis Mills. That depth chart adjustment is likely to be relevant once again for the surprise playoff contender.

C.J. Stroud is not expected to return in Week 16, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. The Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite is still experiencing symptoms from the concussion he suffered against the Jets, with Wilson adding sensitivity to light remains an issue for the No. 2 overall pick.

Stroud will not be cleared for practice Wednesday. The Texans added recent Jets starter Tim Boyle to their practice squad Tuesday. Boyle, who started two games for the Jets before being waived a day after the latter start, now sits behind Keenum and Mills among healthy Houston quarterbacks.

While Stroud’s season is likely to continue, it is obviously a concern he is on track to remain in concussion protocol for a second game. That said, Stroud’s health is obviously paramount here. The Texans toiled in anonymity during the two-year period between Deshaun Watson‘s QB1 run and Stroud’s arrival. They are in this surprising 8-6 spot largely because of the pick they made in April. The Texans have a 51.5% chance to make the playoffs, per ESPN’s FPI. They face the Browns, who carried Keenum as their backup from 2020-21, on Sunday.

Keenum, 35, piloted Houston to an overtime win over Tennessee. The journeyman QB agreed to return to Houston in March, and the Texans rebuffed trade inquiries on he and Mills this year. The team viewed Keenum as a quality Stroud mentor, though Mills was believed to be in place as the backup prior to Week 15. Attached to a two-year, $6.25MM deal, the former Texans UDFA now has 65 career starts under his belt.

Texans Sign QB Tim Boyle To Practice Squad

With C.J. Stroud still sitting in concussion protocol, the Texans are adding some depth to the quarterback room. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston, the Texans are signing quarterback Tim Boyle to the practice squad.

Stroud suffered his concussion during Houston’s Week 14 loss to the Jets. Per Wilson, the second-overall pick still has concussion symptoms, putting his status for this weekend’s game against Cleveland in doubt. If the rookie can’t play, veteran Case Keenum is expected to get another start against his former team. Keenum started for Houston this past weekend and helped guide the team to an overtime win over the Titans.

Considering Stroud’s uncertainty, the Texans have been in the market for some QB help. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Texans tried to claim Nathan Rourke after he was waived by the Jaguars. The Patriots won the waiver claim battle, forcing the Texans to look elsewhere.

Boyle joins the Texans after having spent the first part of his 2023 campaign with the Jets. Initially brought in as a familiar backup to Aaron Rodgers, Boyle ended up getting inserted into the lineup in the middle of the season. The Jets went winless in his two starts, and in three games, the QB tossed one touchdown vs. four interceptions. After starting his career in Green Bay, Boyle went winless in three starts with the Lions in 2021. He got into one game for Chicago in 2022, tossing a pair of interceptions in eight pass attempts.

It’s unlikely Boyle sees any playing time in Houston, assuming Stroud sees the field again before the season is done. Even with the rookie out of the lineup, the veteran would be the QB3 behind Keenum and former starter Davis Mills.

Texans QB C.J. Stroud In Concussion Protocol, Out For Week 15

DECEMBER 15: To little surprise, Stroud will indeed be forced to miss a game for the first time in his young career. Wilson reports Stroud has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest, meaning Mills will be in line for the start with Keenum in place as his backup. Shorthanded at a number of positions, the Texans will depend on Mills in a crucial late-season game as he briefly reclaims his former starting gig.

DECEMBER 11: The Texans suffered a lopsided loss on Sunday, and their offense endured a number of notable injuries in the process. Chief among them was quarterback C.J. Stroud being forced to exit the contest.

Stroud hit his head against the turf after taking a hit in the fourth quarter which forced him to leave the game. The first-round rookie has since been placed in the league’s concussion protocol, as detailed by Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. As a result, his availability for Week 15 is now in question. Players often miss at least one game in the time required to clear the protocol.

Any time without Stroud available would be mark a massive blow to Houston’s playoff push. The No. 2 pick in this year’s draft has been a focal point for the Texans’ turnaround this season, proving the team’s investment in him to be worthwhile. Stroud entered Week 14 leading the NFL in passing yards (3,504) while throwing 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Multiple fourth-quarter comebacks he orchestrated had the Texans sitting at 7-5 going into Sunday’s action.

They also had Stroud in the lead for Offensive Rookie of the Year consideration. After a season-worst outing which preceded the injury, though, attention will now turn to the Ohio State alum’s ability to recover from the first signficant ailment of his young career. The Texans’ loss leaves them as one of six teams in the AFC’s wild-card picture with a 7-6 record, though they remain just one game behind the Jaguars for the lead in the division. Houston’s next game is against the Titans.

Davis Mills finished the game after replacing Stroud. The former’s performances as a starter over the past two seasons informed Houston’s decision to draft a replacement, but he still represents a relatively experienced spot-starter option. Mills, 25, has 31 appearances and 26 starts to his name with Houston, so he will be a familiar face in an offense which is already dealing with injury problems along the offensive line and at the WR position. Wideout Tank Dell is out for the season, and leading receiver Nico Collins suffered a calf injury which knocked him out of yesterday’s game.

Mills – who completed one of five pass attempts on Sunday – would be in line for his first start since 2022 if Stroud is unable to clear the concussion protocol in time. Veteran Case Keenum is also an option after the Texans made it clear they were not interested in moving him despite the arrival of Stroud. Keenum has yet to see a snap this season and his last game was in 2022 with the Bills. His most recent start was the year prior during his time with the Browns.

Frank Reich Addresses Panthers’ Bryce Young Selection, Lack Of Interest In C.J. Stroud

Sunday will see the top two picks from the 2023 draft play against each other for the first time at the NFL level. The Panthers-Texans contest has led to renewed interest in Carolina’s decision to take Bryce Young first overall, a decision which left Houston with C.J. Stroud.

The two quarterbacks have had much different levels of success in the early portions of their careers. Young has yet to reach 250 passing yards in a game while throwing four interceptions and taking 16 sacks in five games. Stroud, by contrast, broke the all-time record for most passes to start a career without an interception (191) and has helped led the Texans to a 3-3 start. Frank Reich, head coach of the 0-6 Panthers, recently spoke about his continued support for Young despite his slow start.

“We got the guy we wanted to get and couldn’t be happier about that — in every way,” he said, via Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). “I’m happy for C.J…. But I know this when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks or any position, it’s years not weeks.”

In the build-up to the draft, Reich’s history of working with bigger quarterbacks led many to believe he would endorse Stroud (6-3) over Young (5-10). The latter’s height did not appear to be an issue for Carolina by the time he was selected with the top pick, however, putting him in place to serve as the franchise’s presumed answer at the QB spot for years to come. He and the offense have sputtered to date, though, leading in part to Reich’s decision to hand over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown.

In spite of that, Reich remains adamant that serious consideration was not given to Stroud in advance of the draft. While Anthony Richardson (taken fourth by the Colts) was mentioned in regard to the No. 1 slot, the Panthers’ decision was realistically between Young and Stroud. Despite frequently being linked to the Ohio State alum, though, Reich confirmed in this week’s remarks that Young, the 2021 Heisman winner, was the Panthers’ priority throughout the pre-draft process.

“My eyes and our eyes were on Bryce Young from start to finish,” Reich added. “You look at the film. You talk to the man. You get a sense for the leader, the player and what he is and what he can be and how he fits to what we want to do… we got the guy for us.”

Texans Name C.J. Stroud Starting QB

The Texans have officially named C.J. Stroud their starting quarterback. Head coach DeMeco Ryans made the announcement following Houston’s preseason finale against the Saints last night.

The anointment of Stroud was largely a foregone conclusion ever since the Texans made him the No. 2 overall pick of this year’s draft. While the other two clubs that selected QBs in the first round of the draft, the Panthers and Colts, announced their rookie passers as their starting signal-callers some time ago, Ryans clearly wanted to wait until the end of the preseason slate and create some semblance of competition between Stroud and incumbent Davis Mills.

Mills, a 2021 third-rounder, showed some promise in his rookie season but regressed in a big way last year, posting a poor 78.8 quarterback rating and leading the league in interceptions (15). Although the Texans generally suffered from a lack of talent across the roster, it became increasingly clear that Mills was not going to be the team’s franchise QB.

As has been discussed a great deal, Mills threw a touchdown pass to Texans TE Jordan Akins on a fourth-and-20 play in the waning moments of the last game of the 2022 regular season. Mills then hit Akins for a two-point conversion, which gave Houston a 32-31 win over the Colts in what was a meaningless bout for both teams from a postseason perspective. However, the victory dropped the Texans from the No. 1 spot in the draft to No. 2, thereby taking them out of contention for Bryce Young, the quarterback that they reportedly preferred. Young was ultimately selected by the Panthers, who engineered a trade-up with the Bears to acquire him.

After Young came off the board, there was plenty of chatter that Houston would take the top defender in the draft with the No. 2 pick and wait until it was back on the clock with the No. 12 overall selection to take a quarterback, if it took one at all in the first round. By that time, Stroud likely would have been long gone.

As it turned out, of course, the Texans did take Stroud, and then they executed their own trade-up from the No. 12 spot to No. 3 to select Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. So they were able to land their preferred defender and their second-favorite quarterback, and we will soon begin to find out whether the dominos that began to fall with the fateful Mills-Akins touchdown connection will push Houston into a new era of competitiveness.

Stroud spent three years at Ohio State, serving as the starter for the past two seasons. He put together a highly productive campaign in 2021 with 4,435 passing yards and 44 touchdown throws coupled with a 72% completion percentage. After wideouts Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave departed for the NFL, Stroud’s 2022 stats regressed a bit, but he still performed well enough to become a Heisman finalist and cement his status as one of the top passers in the 2023 class.

In his first preseason game against the Patriots, Stroud struggled against New England’s pass rush. He completed two of four passes for 13 yards, threw an interception, and took a 15-yard sack. He showed some improvement in the second preseason contest against the Dolphins, completing seven of 12 passes for 60 yards, and in last night’s finale against New Orleans, he completed two of four throws, including the first TD pass of his career.

“I thought [Stroud] did a really good job tonight, and continued to progress,” Ryans said (h/t Grant Gordon of NFL.com). “Had a good week last week against Miami, and to come back out this week, the ball placement was very nice.”

As Stroud is known more for his pocket presence than his athletic abilities, the ball placement that Ryans referenced and general polish as a passer is what the young QB will need to be successful at the professional level.

“I’m still going to work like the way I’ve been working, even more now,” Stroud said. “I’m blessed to be a starter so young in this league, which isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I know my coaches have faith and trust in me, and I’ll go out there and try to do my best.”

Stroud’s regular season debut will come against the Ravens in Baltimore on September 10.

Seahawks Sign Round 1 CB Devon Witherspoon, Wrap Draft Class Deals

This rookie class did produce a negotiation that led to a high-profile draftee missing part of training camp, but the Seahawks are ending that brief chapter Friday. No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon agreed to terms with the team on his four-year rookie deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

With Witherspoon under contract on a deal worth $31.86MM fully guaranteed and containing a fifth-year option, all 2023 draftees are now signed. The payment schedule of the cornerback’s $20.2MM signing bonus served as the final hurdle for the sides to clear, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets.

The three quarterbacks drafted ahead of Witherspoon — Bryce Young (No. 1), C.J. Stroud (No. 2) and Anthony Richardson (No. 4) — received 100% of their bonuses paid up front, per Henderson, who adds Will Anderson Jr. received 85% of his bonus upfront (Twitter link). Last year’s Seahawks first-rounder — No. 9 overall pick Charles Cross — received 75% of his signing bonus paid in the first six weeks, Henderson tweets, providing a glimpse into how the Seahawks prefer to structure their first-rounders’ deals.

With this minor issue in the rearview mirror, the Seahawks can get to work on deploying their top pick. The team deviated from a long-running strategy of not using high draft choices on corners. Under the Pete CarrollJohn Schneider regime, Seattle had not used a first- or second-round pick on this position. Other than Richard Sherman‘s 2014 extension, the team had also generally avoided big payments here as well. Despite Carroll believed to be on board with a high-risk Jalen Carter bet, the Seahawks chose the Illinois corner, whom the Lions were eyeing at No. 6.

A four-year contributor for the Fighting Illini, Witherspoon showed off his defensive ability in 2021 when he finished with nine pass breakups. He replicated that success with 14 PBUs (in addition to three interceptions and 41 tackles) this past year. The 5-foot-11 corner parlayed that success into becoming this year’s first corner chosen. The Seahawks, who moved into the Witherspoon draft slot via their 2022 Russell Wilson trade with the Broncos, will pair the rookie with 2022 rookie standout Tariq Woolen.

Here is Seattle’s 2023 draft class:

Round 1, No. 5 (from Broncos): Devon Witherspoon, CB (Illinois) (signed)
Round 1, No. 20: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR (Ohio State) (signed)
Round 2, No. 37 (from Broncos): Derick Hall, DE (Auburn) (signed)
Round 2, No. 52: Zach Charbonnet, RB (UCLA) (signed)
Round 4, No. 108 (from Broncos): Anthony Bradford, G (LSU) (signed)
Round 4, No. 123: Cameron Young, DT (Mississippi State) (signed)
Round 5, No. 151 (from Steelers): Mike Morris, DE (Michigan) (signed)
Round 5, No. 154: Olusegun Oluwatimi, C (Michigan) (signed)
Round 6, No. 198: Jerrick Reed II, S (New Mexico) (signed)
Round 7, No. 237: Kenny McIntosh, RB (Georgia) (signed)

Texans Sign QB C.J. Stroud, Complete Draft Class Deals

The final Texans’ rookie to sign his initial NFL contract was the player the team selected before the rest of its class. Quarterback C.J. Stroud is now on the books, meaning all of Houston’s rookies have been signed in time for training camp.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Stroud’s four-year, $36.3MM deal includes a signing bonus of $23.38MM. In addition to being fully guaranteed like all first-round contracts, the bonus will be paid in full right away, Rapoport adds. That marks a first in Texans history, as the franchise now has its presumed long-term signal-caller under contract through 2026 (or 2027, if the fifth-year option is picked up down the road).

Stroud entered the 2022 college season seen as a contender with Bryce Young to be deemed the top quarterback in the class and as such, to hear his name called first overall on draft day. The latter was ultimately selected with the No. 1 pick by the Panthers, leaving the Texans with the option of adding Stroud or moving in a different direction with the first of their two Day 1 picks.

Houston – one of the teams which explored a trade with the Bears for the No. 1 pick – was said to be high on edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. in the build-up to the draft. It appeared increasingly likely at one point that the Texans would forgo selecting a QB to instead add to their pass rush. In the end, though, the team did select Stroud at No. 2 before making a blockbuster trade up to the third slot to draft Anderson. Expectations will be high for both players now and in the future.

Stroud spent three years at Ohio State, serving as the starter for the past two seasons. He put together a highly productive campaign in 2021 with 4,435 yards and 44 touchdown passes coupled with a 72% completion percentage. After wideouts Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave departed for the NFL, Stroud’s 2022 stats took a slight step back, but they were still sufficient to make him a Heisman finalist and cement his status as one of the 2023 class’ top passers.

Known more for his pocket presence than his athletic abilities, the former Buckeye is expected to start from Day 1 on a Texans team which has a new coaching staff but a front office led by GM Nick Caserio who is facing increased pressure. Owner Cal McNair pushed back against the idea that he had an influence in the Stroud pick, but all parties involved will benefit from improvement during the 2023 season.

Here is a final look at the Texans’ 2023 draft class:

Round 1, No. 2: C.J. Stroud, QB (Ohio State) (signed)
Round 1, No. 3 (from Cardinals): Will Anderson Jr., LB (Alabama) (signed)
Round 2, No. 62: (from Eagles): Juice Scruggs, C (Penn State) (signed)
Round 3, No. 69 (from Rams): Nathaniel Dell, WR (Houston) (signed)
Round 4, No. 109 (from Raiders): Dylan Horton, DE (TCU) (signed)
Round 5, No. 167 (from Rams): Henry To’oTo’o, LB (Alabama) (signed)
Round 6, No. 201 (from Vikings): Jarrett Patterson, C (Notre Dame) (signed)
Round 6, No. 205 (from Bills): Xavier Hutchinson, WR (Iowa State) (signed)
Round 7, No. 248 (from Eagles): Brandon Hill, S (Pittsburgh) (signed)

AFC South Rumors: Titans, Anderson, Jags

While we are more than two months away from offensive linemen working in pads, the Titans are in the process of determining first-rounder Peter Skoronski‘s position. They are cross-training the No. 11 overall pick at tackle and guard. Skoronski only played tackle at Northwestern, but plenty of pre-draft buzz pointed to a future at guard in the NFL. Arm measurements affected Skoronski’s pre-draft perception, and the Tennesseean’s Nick Suss notes the Titans were alternating possessions of the rookie at tackle and guard during their rookie minicamp.

In Nicholas Petit-Frere and free agent signing Andre Dillard, the team looks to have its two starting tackles in place. The Titans gave the ex-Eagles first-rounder a three-year, $29MM deal, despite Dillard having never commandeered an Eagles starting job, that includes $10MM fully guaranteed. For 2023, at least, this setup points to Skoronski at guard alongside Daniel Brunskill and Aaron Brewer on a new-look Titans line.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Veering back toward C.J. Stroud after weeks of pre-draft reports indicated they were drifting in another direction, the Texans ended up with their coveted edge rusher (Will Anderson Jr.) via a monster trade-up with the Cardinals as well. They became the first team to make two top-three picks in a draft since Washington in 2000. The Texans held pre-draft meetings about how to obtain a quarterback and a pass rusher with their Nos. 2 and 12 picks, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Texans ownership was believed to be more involved this year, though Cal McNair denied influencing GM Nick Caserio to select a quarterback. The trade cost Houston what may well be a top-five pick in 2024, giving Cardinals fans a reason to follow this Texans season, so the AFC South team will bank on Anderson having an All-Pro future.
  • Regarding Anderson, DeMeco Ryans said his top pass rusher will operate primarily out of a three-point stance on the edge. The Texans have used a 3-4 base defense for years, dating back to J.J. Watt‘s heyday, but Ryans played in a 4-3 look in Houston and used it as his base alignment in San Francisco. Anderson worked primarily as a linebacker at Alabama. “It’s not a huge position change for Will,” Ryans said, via HoustonTexans.com’s Deepi Sidhu. “Will will be an edge defender for us, and that’s what he did at Alabama. Mostly at Alabama he was standing up. We’ll have him down in a three-point stance.” As sub-packages now rule the NFL, the line between a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end has blurred over the past several years, making this a standard switch for the prized edge prospect.
  • Ryan Cowden finished last season as the Titans‘ interim general manager. The veteran executive is no longer listed on the team’s website as part of the front office (h/t Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky). This marks a quiet exit for Cowden, who worked alongside Mike Vrabel atop the Titans’ decision-making structure after GM Jon Robinson‘s firing. Ran Carthon has since taken over in Tennessee. Cowden had been with the Titans since Robinson’s 2016 hire. Prior to that, he spent 16 years in the Panthers’ scouting department. Having interviewed for several GM jobs over the past few years — including the Tennessee vacancy — Cowden should have an opportunity to catch on elsewhere soon.
  • The Texans have bumped Tom Hayden to their college scouting director post, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 notes. Previously the team’s college scouting coordinator, Hayden remains with the team despite arriving during the short-lived Brian Gaine GM tenure.
  • Jaguars cornerback Chris Claybrooks was hit with two misdemeanor charges — domestic assault with bodily injury and vandalism under $1,000 — last month stemming from an incident in Nashville. Authorities have dropped each charge due a settlement being reached, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com notes. Claybrooks allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend’s arm and threw her cellphone to the ground.

Cal McNair Denies Influencing Texans’ C.J. Stroud Pick

For weeks leading up to the draft, reports both connected the Texans to a pivot toward a pass rusher at No. 2 overall and having placed a value gap between Bryce Young and the field. The team then taking C.J. Stroud second overall but still trading back up from No. 12 to land Will Anderson Jr. has led to speculation regarding ownership’s role in this year’s draft.

Ahead of Nick Caserio‘s third draft as Houston’s GM, Texans ownership was believed to be more involved compared to the team’s first two Caserio-era drafts. Cal McNair did his best to shoot down rumors of his fingerprints being on the Stroud pick.

Hannah [McNair] and I don’t make the picks. We’ll make it clear there,” McNair said, via ESPN.com’s DJ Bien-Aime. “We have a great group of scouts led by Nick and [assistant player personnel director] James [Liipfert]. They did a lot of work on the draft board, and then they followed that on draft day, and they moved up when they saw the value was there and moved back.”

Value regarding the Anderson trade-up is not a consensus view, as the Texans gave up No. 33 and 2024 first- and third-round picks to climb up for a non-quarterback. Considering how valuable the Texans’ draft slot has been from 2021-23 (No. 3, No. 3, No. 2), the Cardinals obtaining that pick could be viewed as a coup by the rebuilding team. But the Texans — as they were linked to doing for weeks ahead of the draft — prioritized an edge rusher and now have their most significant investment at that position, should J.J. Watt be classified as an interior pass rusher, since selecting Mario Williams first overall in 2006.

Stroud always seemed like the conventional choice at No. 2. The Panthers were believed to have made their early trade-up maneuver with the thought of selecting either Young or Stroud at 1. Young emerged as the runaway leader to lead off the draft, but Stroud was also viewed as a safer pick compared to Anthony Richardson or Will Levis. The Texans punted on a major quarterback investment in 2021, when Deshaun Watson spent the year as a healthy scratch amid his off-field trouble, and 2022. The team chose Davis Mills in the 2021 third round and did not make a notable investment last year, pointing to a 2023 move.

McNair attempted to make clear he did not mandate a quarterback pick, and selecting a QB represented by Watson’s agent — David Mulugheta — lends more support to the owner’s claim. This comes a bit after Caserio denied rumors he would leave the Texans after the draft. But Caserio departure rumblings surfaced late last season as well. He remains in power despite making two HCs one-and-dones to start his GM tenure, and Stroud’s development will obviously be worth monitoring regarding the Texans’ big-picture status.