I have been doing my fantasy scouting process since 2016. The last quarterback to excite me the way C.J. Stroud does was Kyler Murray. Stroud is nowhere near as electric as Murray, but he excites me differently. Stroud processes everything quickly and makes such good decisions it almost seems like he is cheating.
His arm is a live one, similar to an MLB pitcher, and as soon as he gets control of it, lookout. He still is missing passes but guess what? He is still just 20 years old and has only played 13 college games. This year we should see a gigantic leap based on expectations; even if he doesn’t fulfill those, don’t stress. The physical gifts are there, a team has plenty to work with, and you have plenty to be excited for.
The Best Buckeye Quarterback to Date
Stroud would gather national attention based on his senior season alone in high school. Not to say he was good all four years, but he had a senior season for the record books. Stroud would earn Player of the Year honors from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, a paper that serves the San Fernando Valley. He would total 3,878 yards and 47 touchdowns to earn All-American honors and an invite to Elite 11. There he would compete with the nation’s best high school QBs and earn MVP honors.
He took all that momentum he gathered and committed to Ohio State. As a freshman, he would sit behind current Bears QB Justin Fields. He would wait and then capitalize when the job became available. He impressed in his lone year as Buckeyes starting QB. He would pass for 4,435 yards, complete 71% of his passes, and score 44 touchdowns. He would finish fourth in Heisman voting and now sits as one of the best overall prospects in all college football.
What could he have up his sleeve for a sequel performance at Ohio State? Whatever it will prove to be, every eye of every college football fan will be on the Horseshoe come fall.
What You See When Watching Him
Mobility Inside the Pocket
When scouting football players, it is best to do one thing, read and learn as much as possible. When you read former Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians’ book, he talks up one trait, mobility. Not the type of mobility to rush for 1,000 yards but rather mobility to evade pressure and extend plays.
When I watched Stroud, this trait popped off the screen for me. So often, the interior offensive line would collapse, and Stroud was as cool as a cucumber and would demonstrate this. His mechanics never get sloppy when doing this, he remains poised, and his eyes stay downfield to make plays. This is such a hard sense to teach, and for him to have it almost organically is beyond exceptional.
Stroud does it all when you watch, makes progressions, demonstrates mobility, and to cap it all off is NFL-level arm strength. You may be asking, what is NFL-level arm strength? Simple, the NFL’s passing windows are tighter, the weather tends to be wilder, and the season is longer. Stroud’s arm can make the tight window throws and handle the crazy weather, and it seems to get better as a game progresses.
The best arm in this entire class belongs to Stroud, bar none.
For me, this QB class is a two-horse race, and most people see it the same way. You can tell I am firmly in Stroud’s corner, but some people’s flavor may be Bryce Young. That is more than okay but consider this. Stroud is physically bigger and stronger than Young at this point. For me, the physical gifts and the arm talent are enough for me to give Stroud my third highest quarterback grade ever. Right now, he is behind both Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, but to be honest, he may surpass both guys by Christmas.
If you have Stroud shares, enjoy them. If you don’t? I would buy Powerball tickets before investing time to acquire any in a devy league.
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