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Houston Texans’ disinterest in CJ Stroud reportedly linked to Deshaun Watson ‘bad blood’

It seems that the nasty fallout between the Houston Texans and former quarterback Deshaun Watson may be having an influence on the team’s disinterest in selecting CJ Stroud with their top pick in the NFL Draft.

Heading into next week’s event, the Houston Texans have many holes to fill. However, the biggest is at the quarterback position. The organization is in need of a long-term fix there and this year’s draft has four signal-callers with first-round pick potential. Fortunately for the Texans, they have the second pick in the draft.

However, as we get closer to the 2023 NFL Draft and it becomes more likely that the Carolina Panthers will take Bryce Young with the top pick overall, there have been more rumblings about the Houston Texans going in a different direction with the No. 2 pick.

To many NFL Draft experts, CJ Stroud is seen as the top QB in this year’s class, so it would seem like a no-brainer for the QB-needy Texans to take him if Young is off the board. Yet, in a Friday column, Washington Post NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported that all signs from around the team and league indicate they are just not that into Stroud, or other top prospects like Anthony Richardson and Will Levis.

Houston Texans record (2022): 3-13-1, last place in AFC South

Credit: USA Today Network
Credit: USA Today Network

However, La Canfora also added an unexpected element to why the Houston Texans may forego trying to fill a key need with the second pick overall in next week’s event. And it has to do with CJ Stroud’s agent, who is also the representation for former franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The organization and Watson had an ugly falling out as they all dealt with the ramifications of numerous sexual misconduct allegations levied against the star player. And it seems that the Houston Texans may prefer to pass on Stroud to avoid working with agent David Mulugheta again.

“Remember, Watson pocketed millions while staying away from the team as accusations of sexual misconduct mounted. In the eyes of general managers and agents around the league, that relationship plays a part in keeping Stroud from being the shoo-in at No. 2 that so many assumed for so long.

“‘There’s a lot of bad blood there,’ said one GM, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not wish to damage potential negotiations between his franchise and the Texans moving forward. ‘I don’t think [owner Cal McNair] could stomach having Mulugheta’s next top quarterback be the next face of his franchise. I think that’s a non-starter there.'”

– Jason La Canfora report

It seems that even in a money-first business like the NFL, grudges and bad feelings can lead to organizations making some very surprising decisions, even if it is in their business’ best interest.

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