The 2023 NFL Draft is done, and the no division changed as much as the one the Jacksonville Jaguars reside in. With three of the top four picks going to the AFC South and three of the top four quarterbacks, the division will never be the same. Going forward it’s going to be the draft steals that separate the clubs in the South.
There were many great picks, some questionable, and a few left us thinking that guy would never make the team. But one thing is for sure: the AFC South is a whole new animal. In one weekend, the South went from the worst and easiest-to-win division to a perennial superpower. We know the Texans got the biggest names in the draft, but let's look at the biggest steals for each AFC South team.
AFC South 2023 NFL Draft Steals - Houston Texans: Henry To'oTo'o
The Houston Texans had one of the best draft classes this year. After their stunning move to take quarterback C.J. Stroud, when everyone assumed they would go with Alabama's Will Anderson Jr., They turned around and traded up to No.3 to get Anderson in a move we rarely see outside of the Madden videogame franchise.
However, their biggest draft steal wasn't Will Anderson Jr. It was another fellow Crimson Tide defensive star. With the 33rd pick in the fifth round of the draft, the Texans selected Alabama inside linebacker Henry To'oTo'o.
To'oTo'o has active hands, great burst, and always has his eyes on the ball. By being ahead of the play, he makes it challenging for blockers to reach him. In addition, his speed and range have him all over the field on every tackle.
As far as pass rushing, To'oTo'o is naturally intuitive, pairing him with his college teammate Anderson Jr. will prove to be disruptive in the AFC South. Watch him pressure Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson on this option, leaves nowhere to go.
To'oTo'o is a defensive genius, always in the right place at the right time. He shows an incredible football IQ. He credits it to preparation, saying, "It's just the film study that I do," To'oTo'o said. "I spend a lot of time watching the opponent, trying to see those tendencies, seeing where the 'Y' is located and how deep the running back is. Little stuff like that I try to help the guys out trying to make our team the most successful team it can be."
Henry To'oTo'o will be problematic for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the coming years, more so than any late fifth-round pick should be. That reason alone makes him the Houston Texans' top steal in the draft.