C.J. Stroud Aims Strong Three-Word Message at Texans Brass as NFL Draft Approaches

Getty C.J. Stroud has a simple message for the Texans brass.

As most NFL teams attempt to do during the first wave of free agency, the Houston Texans have set themselves up nicely to draft the best player available when their first pick finally comes around at No. 42.

In a flurry of moves that could prove to be franchise-altering, Houston added defensive end Danielle Hunter, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, running back Joe Mixon, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and defensive lineman Denico Autry.

To stockpile capital in later rounds, an area of the draft head coach DeMeco Ryans called “the sweet spot,” the Texans surrendered their first-round pick (No. 23). In a March 15 trade, Houston’s sent No. 23 to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for second- (No. 42) and sixth-round picks (No. 188) and a 2025 second-rounder.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud has some advice for the Texans brass on best approaching those selections when April 26th rolls around: “Don’t be dumb.”

“Whoever’s up there, man, be smart. Don’t be dumb. Don’t think too hard,” Stroud said in an April 15 press conference.

The Texans didn’t have to think too hard about Stroud in the last draft. The Carolina Panthers made it pretty easy for them.

Texans Given Modest Boost in Power Rankings for Initial Free Agency Moves

After their first round of free agency moves, the Houston Texans received a slight bump, moving from No. 9 to No. 8 in the 2024 power rankings.

“The roster around breakout QB C.J. Stroud appeared marginally improved (if far more expensive) following free agency, the major arrivals being veteran DE Danielle Hunter and RB Joe Mixon,” USA Today’s Nate Davis wrote on April 4. “Then WR Stefon Diggs was acquired Wednesday, likely further bolstering Houston’s chances to reach the AFC championship game for the first time.”

While bringing in Diggs doesn’t preclude Houston from snagging an additional pass-catching weapon for Stroud, it certainly lessens the urgency. The 2024 draft boasts a deep wide receiver class, but it’s almost certain there’s one the Texans won’t be selecting.

C.J. Stroud Praises Projected Top NFL Draft Wide Receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud is a year-plus removed from making sweet music with wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. at Ohio State.

When the two were on the field together, they couldn’t be stopped. According to Sports Reference, the duo connected for 1,402 yards and 17 touchdowns over 16 games.

For Stroud, it’s easy to see why his former Buckeye teammate should be the first receiver drafted this week.

“Put on the tape. He’s done it from really his freshman year, his true freshman year, to now,” Stroud said. “When you talk about – I think I read something like he’s NFL ready, but other guys have more potential. That makes no sense. Like, what? If you’re ‘NFL ready,’ how is that not potential? You want longevity, you want somebody who has been doing it. For him, that’s what he sleeps, eats and breathes. He’s a worthy talent, but his work ethic and how he gravitates that room. I challenged him that last year when Jaxon [Smith-Njigba] went down, he had to take over as leader, and he did that. He’s not really vocal, but he became vocal, and you can see his personality start to come out as he started to play more. For me, I think I would love to play with him again. I probably won’t get that opportunity for a while, but I’m super proud of him.

The quarterback phenom is right. It’ll be years, if ever, before fans hear Stroud-to-Harrison in the same sentence again. Not having a first-round selection makes taking the projected top receiver nearly impossible.

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