Sean Pendergast

NFL Draft 2023 Recap — Four Winners, Four Losers

A good time to celebrate.
A good time to celebrate.
The draft process in the NFL is one of my favorite things to cover, as a media member. When you consider that the seeds are planted in the college football ecosystem, grown throughout the regular season of college football, and then the whole process comes to fruition over a three-month period during February, March, and April, it's essentially a year round endeavor.

For 2023, the dust has finally settled, the smoke has cleared, and in Houston, it appears that the fan base is energized and enthused, as the dark clouds of Deshaun Watson, Jack Easterby, David Culley (nice man, horrible coach), and all other weirdness in between have lifted, and now it's the era of DeMeco Ryans, C.J. Stroud, and Will Anderson.

As with everything in life, we have winners, we have losers. Here are a few of each:


4. The Texans Draft Party concept
In every year where the Texans have actually HAD a first round pick, the team has always done a draft party of some sort. For many years, it was in the club level at that stadium. However, the last two years, including last Thursday, it's been at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, and I don't know that things could have played out any better for a party atmosphere than they did on Thursday, with the Texans drafting a QB second overall, then trading up to the VERY NEXT pick for the best defensive player in the draft. This was the scene:
The concept of the party in this location with this setup was a big winner, but I don't know that Thursday will ever be topped. Just an amazing scene for a hope-starved fan base.

3. Whose house? COOGS HOUSE!
The Texans came into this draft with a big need for a play making wide receiver, so the selection of undersized but explosive Houston Cougar WR Tank Dell early in the third round made a ton of sense. If he can survive the physical toll, and pick up the offensive playbook quickly, it's scary to think what Bobby Slowik's scheme and Stroud's arm can unlock in Dell. Here is a little taste of what he did across town last season:
2. Evidently, me!
For those who don't know, I am a proud alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, a small parochial institution in the Midwest that dabbles in American football. Texans GM Nick Caserio evidently was kind enough to draft center Jarrett Patterson in the sixth round for ME! Take a look:
Thank you, Nick, and GO IRISH!

1. Anyone who bet the OVER on number of Texans trades on draft weekend
So, the Houston Texans began the draft on Thursday night with the following selections (nomenclature is round number/overall selection number:


They ended up selecting their nine players at the following draft slots:


In other words, they used just TWO of the dozen or so selections they went into the weekend with, the two in bold font above. All of the other picks were involved in a record setting EIGHT trades made by Nick Caserio. A whirlwind of a weekend to follow and cover the draft!


4. San Francisco 49ers
Look, make no mistake, the San Francisco 49ers have a loaded roster, on both sides of the football, so the fact that they entered draft weekend with just one pick in the top 100 selections (and even that one was 99th overall!) is not a huge deal to them. However, selecting a kicker(Jake Moody, Michigan) with that very selection seems like an odd allocation of resources. That division is going to be so bad that the Niners lack of foundational future draft capital won't be a problem for years, if ever, but that was a head scratcher.

3. Brock Osweiler
So former Texans QB Brock Osweiler did one of those "eleven years ago tonight, my dream began, so good luck to all the rookies tonight" Instagram posts, which is really just a thinly veiled opportunity to flex about having some semblance of an NFL career. So Texan fans, do this — check out the ten picture montage below and tell me what's missing:
Seven pictures of Brock as a Bronco, two as a Dolphin, and one as a Brown. NO TEXANS PICTURES! I would get uselessly angry about it, except I think it would have been an even bigger troll job by Brock for him to actually include a picture or two of his time here, which was abysmal on EVERY level, in terms of HIS play on the field (and his H-E-B commercials off it).
Man, gotta feel for J.J. Watt there. 

2. The little guy
This was a strange draft overall as, for the first time in the history of the event, there were no players outside of the Power Five conferences in college football selected in the first round. Every single player went to one of the 65 "big" schools. Since Nick Caserio arrived here in 2021, he has philosophically mirrored that, with all but one of his 23 selections coming from Power Five schools, the only exception being Dell, and even his school is moving into a power conference next season. I'm not sure if this season is an outlier, or an indication of the rich getting richer in the era of NIL and the transfer portal, but it is, at the very least, an interesting footnote.

1. Will Levis
There have been some legendary slides down the draft board on the opening day of the NFL Draft. The most famous one was probably Aaron Rodgers going from being the possible top pick to 24th overall to the Packers. That one worked out okay. Two years later, it was Brady Quinn siding from the top five all the way to the Browns at 22nd overall. That one did not work quite as well. This past weekend, Will Levis slid all the way off the board and into the ocean of Day 2, with the Titans moving up to draft him at 33rd overall. The Levis slide was more fun for the masses than the aforementioned Rodgers and Quinn slides, mainly because Levis has such an irritating personality. Now that he is in Tennessee, I feel comfortable saying that I hope the slide continues!

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