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C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

The 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class might be stocked with loads of high-level passing expertise, and the scouting report of Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud is an enormous a part of that. After taking his lumps early on in 2021, Stroud rapidly morphed right into a formidable subject common. And now, he’s arguably an early candidate to be the No. 1 total decide in April 2023.

C.J. Stroud NFL draft profile

If there’s a phrase that may tie collectively Stroud’s complete profession thus far, it’s “progression.”

The Buckeyes signal-caller progressed all by way of highschool and closed out his tenure with a senior season that noticed him amass 3,878 yards and 47 touchdowns in 13 video games. Stroud progressed by way of the Elite 11 quarterback competitors showcase in 2019 and was finally named MVP of the occasion. In his first full season as a starter at Ohio State, he progressed right into a Heisman finalist.

The stats are a powerful indicator of Stroud’s development. After finishing simply 62.3% of his passes by way of his first three video games in 2021, Stroud closed out the 12 months on a tear, finishing 74.7% of his remaining throws, and touchdown with 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns, and simply six interceptions.

But the stats solely go up to now. These stats, specifically, are surface-level stats that lack context. They might be deceptive. Nevertheless, the development on movie for Stroud is simply as spectacular, if no more so. And it confirms what his profession up to now has taught us. He’s continually progressing — in a short time, very quickly — and is destined to be a beginning NFL quarterback.

  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Ohio State
  • Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
  • Height/Weight: 6’3″, 218 kilos

C.J. Stroud scouting report

Stroud’s positives

To determine a first-round worthy QB, you begin with the expertise. Stroud little doubt has that. He passes the attention take a look at with a sturdy 6’3″, 218-pound body. With that body, he flashes a crisp, tight launch. He’s quick and environment friendly along with his throwing movement, and generates nice velocity with ease to all ranges of the sector.

Stroud has wonderful arm energy, and with it, he pushes the ball outdoors the numbers and places passes the place solely his receivers can get it. He can effortlessly match the ball into tight home windows and push passes up the seam towards tight protection.

Stroud’s arm shouldn’t be solely robust, but in addition elastic. This mixed energy and elasticity grants the Ohio State QB distinctive total arm expertise. Stroud can masterfully combine tempo and contact on his throws. With his arm expertise and methodical shoulder changes, he can actively manipulate the trajectory of his passes. Moreover, Stroud has sufficient arm elasticity to ship correct throws when on the transfer, or when his base is fading again. On the run, Stroud’s proven he can throw from completely different arm angles and nonetheless generate velocity.

Beyond his arm expertise, Stroud additionally has underrated mobility. He’s very pure getting out into house on boot actions and rollouts, and he extends performs on the bottom. Additionally, Stroud’s short-area athlete, who makes use of fast actions to flee rushers and surge by way of small lanes within the pocket. Stroud additionally has the lateral athleticism to sidestep blitzers and create further house for himself.

Nov 27, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) passes towards the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As a thrower, considered one of Stroud’s finest traits is his accuracy. The Ohio State QB throws throughout the receiver’s wheelhouse with unusual consistency, and his passes are not often uncatchable. Going additional, Stroud persistently locations the ball nicely for yards after the catch within the brief vary. He additionally helps lead receivers away from contact on comebacks and routes over the center of the sector. Moreover, Stroud can place boundary passes to the again shoulder and has the rate to push these throws previous tight protection.

As correct as Stroud is, his total processing and psychological work is perhaps much more spectacular. Stroud is a particularly sensible passer, who’s proven he can rapidly undergo progressions and course of leverage with stellar processing velocity and subject imaginative and prescient. He’s capable of rapidly determine coverages, make pre-snap checks, and pinpoint mismatches to use based mostly on coverages.

Expanding on Stroud’s processing, the Ohio State QB has proven to anticipate stems and maximize effectivity, particularly on fast throws. He reacts rapidly to WR possibility breaks and has the anticipation and high-level arm expertise to make high-difficulty throws.

Manipulation and mechanics

Beyond easy processing, Stroud has proven he can manipulate the sector in actual time. He actively makes use of his shoulders and eyes to control and displace defensive backs, whereas concurrently anticipating home windows. Additionally, Stroud can feign the run as a scrambler to drag linebackers in, opening home windows which he rapidly capitalizes on.

In the pocket, Stroud does very nicely to really feel strain, and might preemptively step up into lanes to purchase himself time within the pocket. He’s distinctive at managing house — affected person and poised, with lively toes. He’s snug studying the sector and might stand in amidst contact to ship passes. When Stroud has to roll out, he retains his eyes up and alert. He additionally has sufficient velocity to beat edge rushers outdoors and hold performs alive.

Mechanically, there’s way more good than unhealthy with Stroud. The Ohio State QB typically has a gradual, uniform base within the pocket, and barely goes too vast with that base. He’s capable of maintain hip rotation and stage shoulders with this base and likewise brings a crisp launch. Even when labored off his base, Stroud has proven to snap again to congruence forward of throws. He has that corrective failsafe and might use fast collect steps to remember his base.

Going additional, Stroud can rapidly reset his toes after rolling out, to load his hips and get enough rotation. He’s additionally capable of hold his shoulders stage and generate hip rotation on the transfer. In that part, Stroud additionally has the arm elasticity to generate velocity off-platform.

Stroud is a composed, measured decision-maker who comfortably works by way of his progressions with discretion, all the best way to his checkdown. Still, Stroud is greater than keen to take high-reward dangers along with his arm. His dangers are sometimes calculated, and he additionally exhibits the wherewithal to throw the ball away when labored right into a nook.

Among different issues, Stroud has proven he can carry out pre-snap work, figuring out blitzers and assigning protections to working backs.

Stroud’s areas for enchancment

While he’s robust mechanically, there are little particulars that Stroud can work to enhance. The Ohio State QB typically dips his entrance shoulder on passes, inflicting throws to sink and fall behind receivers. He might additionally higher handle his shoulders on the transfer. In an analogous vein, Stroud typically fails to completely switch his weight ahead on throws and might lock his hips, inflicting passes to fall brief.

Going additional, Stroud wants extra self-discipline with the position of his entrance foot. He typically overcorrects when snapping into place, leading to inaccuracy. Additionally, the Ohio State QB’s launch level typically varies. While typically compact, his launch is sometimes concave, which may push passes excessive. Among different issues, his mechanics can get tied up when manipulating defensive backs, and he sometimes has scissor toes on the drop again.

Looking elsewhere, Stroud is extra correct than exact at this level. There are instances the place he might place the ball higher to accommodate receivers, permit for RAC, and lead away from contact. His passes to the center of the sector are sometimes behind receivers, forcing them to decelerate. And on end-zone fades, he might discover a higher steadiness of tempo and contact.

Stroud doesn’t fairly have the arm elasticity to right defective decrease physique angles persistently. And he performs much less athletic than he’s. There’s nonetheless room for him to turn out to be extra snug as a creator. Stroud sometimes stares down receivers, keying in defenders, and he typically tries to drive passes along with his arm. He might have a slight adjustment from a WR-option-heavy offense.

Current draft projection for Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

Not solely does Stroud play essentially the most useful place in soccer, however he’s additionally a real potential blue-chip prospect at that place. It goes with out saying that Stroud is sort of a surefire first-round decide — and a possible No. 1 total decide — with the combo of expertise and positional worth in play.

Teams solely spend high choices on passers who’ve reliable franchise QB potential, and that’s what Stroud is. Stroud has high-end arm expertise and strong creation capability. Beyond his uncooked expertise, Stroud’s scouting report is way extra full than you’d count on for a prospect his age.

Stroud is tremendously correct, composed, and adept as a processor. At his finest, he might be in full management of the sector forward of him along with his imaginative and prescient, eye manipulation, and arm elasticity. The Ohio State QB nonetheless has room to additional refine his mechanics, in addition to turn out to be extra persistently exact. But because it stands, Stroud’s a real franchise-caliber passer, with the bodily and intangible instruments to guide a workforce to competition.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can discover his writing right here and comply with him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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