After getting their franchise quarterback in C.J. Stroud, the Houston Texans sent shock waves through the NFL draft Thursday night, trading up nine spots to select Alabama pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the No. 3 overall pick.
The Arizona Cardinals, who originally owned the third pick, received the 12th overall pick, the 33rd overall pick, a first-round pick in 2024 and a third-rounder in 2024 from the Texans, who also receive a 2023 fourth-rounder in the deal.
The Texans still own the Cleveland Browns' 2024 first-round pick from last year's Deshaun Watson trade.
Despite the hefty price tag for the third pick, the Texans have landed two of this year's top overall draft prospects for first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans, who said throughout the offseason that Houston was looking to add a young quarterback and now also has a building block for his defense.
"I know that it's meant to be," said Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick. "I know that with this franchise, it's going be something that I'm really going to take very, very seriously and I'm going to work my tail off to get some wins."
Stroud joins a franchise that has failed to find a reliable quarterback in the two seasons since Watson requested to be traded. Davis Mills has started most of the last two seasons, going 5-22-1 in 28 games with 26 starts as the Texans were among the NFL's worst teams.
The Texans' quarterback struggles made it evident to general manager Nick Caserio that the organization needed to find its quarterback of the future.
"C.J. is a really productive player," Caserio said. "We had him in the building for a visit. He's a competitive a player [and] has an edge about him in a good way. He loves football, wants to compete, wants to be great."
Stroud was asked about dealing with the expectations of being a franchise quarterback.
"I don't believe in pressure," he said. "I think you either do it or you don't."
Anderson said he is excited to play for Ryans, who also starred as a linebacker Alabama.
"I'm just super blessed, super excited to be a part of something so special and a part of a lot of great defensive minds that just share the same mindset and mentality," Anderson said. "To go from one coach like Coach Saban to another coach that was at Bama and knows the process and knows the standard and has the expectation, that's exactly what I needed."
Stroud joins a Texans quarterback room that already has Mills, E.J. Perry and Case Keenum. The Texans added Perry and Keenum in free agency, and Mills started 15 games last season.
In 2022, Mills posted a 3-10-1 record as Houston's starter and threw 15 interceptions, tied with Dallas' Dak Prescott for the most in the NFL.
In two seasons as Ohio State's starter, Stroud passed for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021 and 2022.
Stroud's last collegiate game was one of his most remarkable as he completed 23 of 34 passes for 348 yards with four touchdowns in a 42-41 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Anderson joins a Texans defense that ranked 27th in points allowed (24.7 per game) and 30th in total defense (379.5 yards per game) in 2022. Houston's defense also allowed the sixth-most rushing yards for a single season (2,894 yards) and allowed 5.1 yards per carry (29th).
Anderson is Houston's second noteworthy addition to the defensive line after Sheldon Rankins signed in free agency for one year and $10.5 million.
The 6-foot-4 Anderson had 10 sacks last season and 17.5 sacks in 2021. He became the first Alabama player to be a two-time unanimous All-American and is a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time Nagurski Trophy winner.
Anderson had 130 pressures from 2021 to 2022 -- 42 more than any other player in the FBS during that span.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.