NFL Draft Profile: C.J. Stroud

As the NFL's annual free agency frenzy comes to a close, it's time for teams to look forward to the year's best and last chance to improve their rosters: the NFL Draft. As April 27th approaches, we'll look at the prospects most likely to transform a franchise's fortunes.

The Player: C.J. Stroud, Quarterback

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud has been an incredibly productive passer at one of college football's elite programs over the past two years, finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2021 and third in 2022. He passed for an impressive 8123 yards, 85 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 25 appearances with the Buckeyes, and he projects as a prototypical passer at the next level.

The Tools:

Stroud has an ideal NFL frame (6'3", 214 lbs) with solid arm strength and accuracy at all levels of the field. He has shown discipline behind the line of scrimmage and always looks to pass instead of run, despite the ability to threaten defenses with his legs. He has shown significant toughness, playing through a separated shoulder in 2021 and playing the game of his life against a legendary Georgia defense in the College Football Playoff last season (348 passing yards, four passing touchdowns).

The Verdict:

Ohio State hasn't produced many credible passers in recent years, and their scheme may not lend itself to an easy transition for quarterbacks entering the pros. Stroud doesn't have the wheels to pull away from defenders like his former Ohio State teammate Justin Fields, but that may not be a bad thing. He has shown a willingness to deliver difficult throws. He is perhaps the easiest projection as a traditional dropback passer in the draft this year, and that makes him a worthy high first-round pick.
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