The Houston Texans shocked the pro football world with a high-stakes grab of two potentially franchise-defining cornerstones in the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 27.
Long-suffering Texans fans literally jumped for joy when the team selected Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud with the No. 2 pick overall. But the big shocker came when immediately after, the Texans picked Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. — considered by many the best player in the entire 2023 class — at No. 3.
Though the Texans paid dearly to move from No. 12 to No. 3 overall, the move is being largely heralded across sports media and the NFL landscape, particularly with those who've been critical of the Texans' front-office moves of late (no need to re-hash all that now).
A team forced to rebuild slowly, the Houston Texans, led by general manager Nick Caserio and head coach (and beloved former Texans player) DeMeco Ryans put the NFL on notice that they’re not only rebuilding, but ready to win now.
Nothing in the NFL is guaranteed (hence the "any given Sunday" mantra). But Stroud replaces controversial and ousted former Texans QB Deshaun Watson as the face of the offense. Meanwhile, Anderson is already being compared to perennial NFL defensive greats and could very well be this team's next Justin James Watt.
Fans packed the Texans' official draft watch party and received a video message from the two new Texans. Later, Houston rapper Paul Wall (the People's Champ) and rap icon Bun B officially welcomed Stroud and Anderson from the fan fest. The People's Champ promised Stroud and Anderson a dazzling gift from one of our most buzzy jewelers.
“Now, I talked to my boy Johnny Dang,” Wall told the duo. “He said he got your grillz ready! He said he got your grillz ready!” Instantly recognizing the swag, Stroud and Anderson laughed, Stroud even pointing to his teeth.
For the uninitiated, grills are shiny, often jewel-encrusted adornments worn over the teeth. Known as Houston's celebrity grill maker, Dang has crafted pieces for local and national celebs, including Beyoncé, Astros players like Lance McCullers, Jr. and Jeremy Peña. Dang was even featured The World According to Jeff Goldblum; the actor proudly showed off his gold, Dang-crafted grill in interviews later.
Paul Wall promised grillz for the dynamic duo.Screen capture via Houston Texans/Facebook
Wall's gift promise capped off (sorry) a joyous event for the team that has a dearth of them of late.
“Couldn’t have celebrated last night’s draft pics at a better place with better people,” Bun B, who sported a No. 23 Texans jersey, tells CultureMap after the big day.
“It excites me to see what the future holds,” Stroud told fans and the media on Friday, April 28. “We don't have a limit. We can do whatever we put our minds to and whatever Christ asks us to do. So I'm really excited.”
As are fans everywhere in Houston. Here's hoping that the next big celebrity gift for Stroud and Anderson comes courtesy of our Trill OG (and frequent CultureMap Tastemaker Awards emcee) Bun B. We're sure the dudes will love a box of his Trill Burgers, the hottest smash burgers in America.
And here's hoping this glowing hardware from Dang is foreshadowing for another coveted gem: a Lombardi trophy.