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Did Texans Drafting QB C.J. Stroud 'Water Down' Cardinals Trade Value?

Selecting C.J. Stroud second overall seemingly made it easier for the Texans to trade up to No. 3 overall with the Cardinals for Will Anderson Jr.

In the final few weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, there was uncertainty surrounding the second overall pick. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was the presumed No. 1 overall pick for the Carolina Panthers, which left the question of what the Texans would do at No. 2. 

For most of the offseason, the belief was the pick would be Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud to land their franchise quarterback. However, as the draft approached rumors started to form that they would pass on Stroud for a defensive player such as Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. instead.

Ultimately took Stroud with the second pick before trading up from No. 12 to No. 3 overall with the Arizona Cardinals to select Anderson. While they had the option of taking Anderson at No. 2 and trading up for Stroud at No. 3, ESPN explained why they did the opposite order. 

"The Texans, in their efforts to get Anderson, took the quarterback first to water down Arizona's options to trade out of the third pick, thus neutralizing teams that might have wanted Stroud," ESPN writes

"That way, GM Nick Caserio could at least try to get a better deal at No. 3 while saving face with the QB of the future and making first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans happy with a cornerstone defensive player."

If the Texans had taken Anderson at No. 2 overall, the arguably second-best quarterback in the class would have been available and would have allowed the Cardinals to start a bidding war for their pick. 

Instead, Houston opted to select Stroud with its second overall pick and limit the suitors that would want to trade up with Cardinals which made trading up to take Anderson easier to accomplish.

"Sure, they gave up a lot (sending No. 12, No. 33, and future first- and third-round picks for No. 3 and a third-round pick), but from a practical standpoint, it's like Houston moved up to get a quarterback," ESPN wrote.

There is no telling just how good Stroud or Anderson will be for the Texans, especially early in their careers. For now, though, they got their franchise-defining guy on both sides of the ball as they look to contend once again.

You can find Connor Zimmerlee on Twitter @Connorjz98

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