While the needs vary each year, the NFL Draft brings hope and optimism to every single franchise. Many view this hope as being for the fortunes of the franchise and in a lot of ways they are correct. New faces to the organization can spark championship dreams. But there is another kind of hope that needs to be discussed. The hope is that player lives up to the standards set before him by those who once stood in his shoes for the franchise. This year, the Houston Texans drafted C.J. Stroud, a quarterback from Ohio State. Let's take a look at their history with the position and the standards that have already been set.
The Houston Texans made a blunder right out of the gate. With the first pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, they selected Fresno State's David Carr. While he had put up some impressive numbers in college and may have been an effective quarterback in the National Football League, he didn't have any chance as a professional. The Texans were too young and their offensive line was too inexperienced, giving up an NFL-record 76 sacks in 2002. From then on, David Carr was viewed as a "bust".
Still, despite the zero protection, Carr stood strong in the pocket and in 2004 threw more touchdowns than interceptions for the first time in his career, throwing for a career-best 3,531 yards and 16 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. Two years later, he led the league by completing 68.3% of his passes. It would be his last full year as a starter in the NFL.
The following year, the team traded for Matt Schaub, an unknown at the time. Within two years, he began to establish himself as one of the best passers in the game, throwing for a league-best 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns. Of course, he had some help from wideout Andre Johnson, a sleek phenom from Miami who racked up 1,000-yard seasons with ease.
By 2011, the team was ready to take the division for the first time in its brief history. That year, he passed for 2,479 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions before being knocked out for the rest of the year with a Lisfranc injury. He came back stronger the following year, throwing for 4,008 yards and 22 touchdowns while being invited to his second and final Pro Bowl. The following year, his career imploded after he set the wrong kind of NFL record by throwing a pick-six in three straight games.
After that disastrous 2-14 season, the Texans released Schaub and were in a bit of a quarterback quandary, looking to journeymen bridge quarterbacks in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer to lead the team over the next two years. They thought they had found their man in Brock Osweiler in 2016, but he proved to be ineffective -throwing just 15 touchdowns against 16 interceptions- despite leading the team to the playoffs.
The next year, the Texans drafted Deshaun Watson, a phenom from Clemson who had just won the national championship. He truly looked like the total package, begin able to both run and pass with ease. He played well in his rookie year but was lost for much of it due to a torn ACL. The following year, he threw for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns while earning his first Pro Bowl invitation. He made the Pro Bowl the next two years and led the team to the playoffs again in 2019, losing a heartbreaker to the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. He led the league in 2020 with 4,823 passing yards, but the team stumbled to a 4-12 finish. It would be just the beginning of his struggles.
Before the 2021 season began, several women accused him of assault and his time in Houston came to a prolonged close. Now the Texans have drafted his replacement. Will C.J. Stroud be as effective as Deshaun Watson? Only time will tell.