2023 NFL Draft: Texans select CJ Stroud with second overall pick in surprise move

The Houston Texans selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick in somewhat of a surprise.

Stroud had long been the consensus No. 2 pick by just about every expert since the 2022 NFL season ended, but rumors changed up the betting odds throughout the week.

At one point on Tuesday, sportsbooks took notice of a Reddit rumor that said Will Levis told people the Carolina Panthers called him and told him he would go No. 1. That rumor caused Levis’ odds everywhere to shake up a ton, and he was favored to go second overall on Tuesday morning.

CJ Stroud

As early as Thursday, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson became the huge favorite to go second, but the Texans decided to rock with the quarterback.

The Texans would get Anderson anyway – about five minutes after drafting Stroud, they traded up to the third selection to stay on the clock, and they took the edge rusher to plug him on the defense.

Some also thought Stroud’s stock took a hit after his reported 18% on the S2 Cognitive Test, which recently replaced the Wonderlic, was the lowest among all quarterbacks in this draft.

CJ Stroud throwing

Stroud finished in fourth place in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2021 and then third last season. In his two full seasons as the Buckeyes’ quarterback, he completed 69.3 percent of his passes (575-for-830), airing it out for 8,123 yards and 80 touchdowns against just a dozen interceptions.

 Stroud played in two bowl games in his college career: the 2022 Rose Bowl (a 48-45 win over Utah), and the 2022 Peach Bowl (a 42-41 loss to Georgia) which was one of the College Football Playoff semifinals. He was named a Second-team All-American this past season and was twice an All-Big Ten first-teamer.

C.J. Stroud of Ohio State runs onto the field