Former Alabama football quarterback Bryce Young throws a football as he works in position drills.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is who the Texans most coveted but he will be off the board when they pick No.2 overall. Credit: AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

If there was any thought Texans general manager Nick Caserio was going to provide any clues on where the team might be leaning in the days leading up to the NFL Draft, think again.

Instead of narrowing what the Texans might be thinking with the No.2 overall pick, Caserio left the door wide open in his last meeting with the media before the draft kicks off Thursday in Kansas City. The Texans might do any number of things, from using the pick to possibly trading out of it.

“We’ve received some calls actually, on the No. 2 pick,” said a normally close-to-the-vest Caserio, whose team also owns the 12th overall pick in the draft. “I think our job and responsibility is to listen and not rule anything out. I think whatever the end result is come Thursday, you know, we’ll be prepared to go either way.”

“If you want to quote me, are we open for business, I would say we’re open to listening, if you want to change the vocabulary a little bit. We have received a few calls, and again, I think our responsibility is to listen, try to take the information in and then just make the right decision.”

That’s not likely what most Texans fans want to hear. It’s quarterback or bust for most.

But for the Texans it may not be that simple. There are a handful of highly touted quarterbacks in this draft, but the one the Texans may covet most – Alabama’s Bryce Young – will likely be off the board after the Carolina Panthers use the No.1 pick they traded up for to take the quarterback they want.

There had been a strong belief the Texans would then use the second-overall pick to select Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. But in the days leading up to the draft, a growing sentiment is that the Texans could go in an entirely different direction with their first selection of the night.

Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud throws a football as he runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud grades out as having the most upside of the quarterbacks in the draft and will be there when the Texans draft second. Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Rumors have defensive-minded first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans desiring to take Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson, Jr. with the No.2 overall pick. Anderson, who is from Ryan’s alma mater, is considered the safest pick in the entire draft, and he certainly would fill a need.

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) runs back an interception for a touchdown against Louisiana-Monroe during the first half of an NCAA college football game
Alabama linebacker/edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. is considered the safest pick in the first round and he is definitely the pass rusher the Texans need. Credit: AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

There is also speculation the Texans could go off the map and select Kentucky quarterback Will Levis with the second pick. Then there is a belief the Texans could trade out of the pick all together.

The Texans had both Stroud and Young in for visits this month, but nobody is offering a clue which way the team is leaning.

“I won’t talk specifically about what we’re doing with our plans for the draft,” said Ryans, who was once a Pro Bowl linebacker with the Texans. “We’ll evaluate. When it’s our time to pick, we’ll have to be ready to pick.”

What we do know is the Texans have 12 picks over the seven-round draft. Five of those will come in the first three rounds thanks in part to the trade that sent quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns.

That means the Texans will have plenty of opportunities to bring an influx of young players to the team and improve their overall talent at several positions.

“I’ve seen a lot of different players being a player in this league. I’ve seen a lot of different players, a lot of different talent,” Ryans said. “For me, in the evaluation process, I just know it can be done multiple ways, many different people, different sizes, different shapes, different talents.”

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....