C.J. Stroud leaves strong impression on Houston Texans


HOUSTON—Two big stories here when I landed from Vegas:

  1. Drafting a franchise quarterback.
  2. Paying franchise-quarterback draft capital to draft a defensive end.

There’s no other way to put it: After picking C.J. Stroud second overall, the Texans traded up nine slots, from 12 to three in the first round, to take Alabama defensive end Will Anderson. Houston GM Nick Caserio traded 12 and 34 this year and first- and third-round picks next year to just barely squeeze the trade into the NFL’s 10-minute window for the third pick. As I explain in the next item about Arizona’s draft, Houston could be picking very early next year—which will put a white hot spotlight of pressure on Anderson.

Caserio told me at NRG Stadium that Stroud was clearly the team’s target at two. He’d had some discussions with Cards GM Monti Ossenfort about possibly moving from 12 to three. “Then,” Caserio said, “it happened pretty quickly when they were on the clock.”

The deal got done and all parties notified, he said, with “close to a minute” left. So the Texans got a player they hope will be their franchise QB, and they got the best defensive player on their board. That is one heck of a night’s work. The price, of course, is denuding the 2024 draft when the Texans might wish they had two first-round picks and four in the first three rounds—instead of now just one first-round pick, one second- and no thirds.

But – and there is a big but – you should have been at the Texans’ facility in the basement of NRG Stadium late Friday afternoon, when Stroud and Anderson put on a show of humility and team-firstness that had to make Texans fans so weary of losing (a league-worst 11-38-1 in the last three years) happy for the first time since the Wild Card win over Buffalo three years ago.

Stroud and Anderson came with their families and made it clear they were all-in on going to a losing team after years of nothing but winning in college. Afterward, Stroud told me: “That’s what life is about, working to build something good. That’s what I’m here to help this team do. I’m ready for it.”

The Texans have asked Stroud to let the S-2 Test controversy go, but he got a couple last licks in on it. A player who played the way Stroud did—particularly in putting up 41 points in his superb final college game in the playoff against Georgia—is not a player who can’t process, or can’t ID a defense. I understand using every tool in the bag to analyze players before the draft, and I’d check out why Stroud scored low on the test. But to think it’s a good indicator of future failure—I mean, watch the games he’s played.

We stood in a hallway just off the Texans’ locker room for 12 minutes and I asked him about what he’s learned from the last three months.

“Humility is something I’m not afraid of,” Stroud said. “It’s something I’m accustomed to. This was all probably just a humble moment God wanted me to go through.

A lot of people haven’t played the sport, and I mean critics are gonna critique. For me I know the film speaks for itself. Everything that I’ve done in college, I’ve been very consistent. I think I’ve been one of the most consistent players in college football for the last two years. If you turn on the tape, you can see, you can answer the questions. But those who don’t understand tape might want to go to other things and analyze other things. They’re more than welcome to do such. But the people who are making the choices and the picks, they knew what I can do. They understood the IQ that I do have.

“I have a great memory when it comes to football,” Stroud added. “I feel like there’s different ways to be geniuses. You don’t just have to be book smart. You can be analytics smart. You can be numbers smart. You can be football smart. I really think that there’s different types of ways to be smart. That’s something that I pride myself on. And I am book smart. I did have over a 3.0 in college. I had over a 3.0 in high school. I know that I can think. I can process very, very fast. The film, you can see me going from first option to second and then back to one and then to three to four if I have to. I can check down. I can use my feet.

“But, you know, everything happens for a reason. I’m not upset. I’m actually blessed, I’m super blessed to be a Texan. Number two overall pick in the NFL draft, man. A little kid from the [California] Inland Empire. All smiles, man. I ain’t tripping about this.”

Good attitude to have. But at the same time, I could feel it: C.J. Stroud will remember this pre-draft process. And for the Texans, that bit of motivation will be a very good thing.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!