CJ Stroud NFL Draft Scouting Report
QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
CJ Stroud delivered two elite seasons as the Ohio State Buckeyes’ starting quarterback. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year twice and became the first player in program history to be a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist. He is the first quarterback in the history of the Big Ten to have back-to-back seasons with 30 or more touchdown passes, logging 44 in 2022 and 41 in 2022. After a shaky start in 2021 when taking over as Ohio State’s starter, Stroud settled in and led one of the most dynamic offenses in college football for two seasons.
Stroud offers an impressive blend of size, passing-game instincts, and mobility to make him a dynamic player. Stroud has good arm strength, although I stop well short of calling it elite. He generally does well to read coverage, identify leverage, and give his targets opportunities to make plays on the football. He is more than willing to identify matchups and test man coverage. He has impressive flashes of accuracy, especially down the field. Stroud is an excellent anticipatory thrower. I really like his approach and how he blends aggressive throws with taking profits when necessary. He takes care of the football and rarely puts it in harm’s way. Stroud has a good feel for the rush and maneuvering within the pocket.
He is in full command of the offense and it appears he is involved with setting protections, locking routes, and calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. Stroud has a variety of clubs in his bag and does well to put the appropriate weight on the football—he knows when to dial up the fastball and when to use his off-speed pitches. After an elite showing in the 2021 Rose Bowl against Utah, his performance in the College Football Playoff against Georgia was exceptional.
When it comes to concerns, Stroud has a tendency to drift away from pressure despite showcasing good elusiveness and movement within the pocket on other occasions. Like most quarterbacks, Stroud doesn’t illustrate great comfort under duress and his play can come unraveled when pressured. Given the architecture of the Ohio State offense and the frequency of option routes, Stroud can be a touch late with decisions and it appears he’s confirming targets to be open before pulling the trigger. That said, there are plenty of instances of strong anticipatory throws, so that issue is intermittent. While it improved from 2021 to 2022, Stroud can be toesy in the pocket with his heels off the ground. That creates challenges with setting his base and leads to irregular throw sequencing, negatively impacting his ball placement in those instances. We got a taste of how effective Stroud can be with his legs against Georgia in the Peach Bowl, but for most of his time as the starter, he was far more reluctant to weaponize his legs.
Stroud profiles as an NFL starting quarterback that is worthy of a first-round investment. His game is still evolving, which creates excitement for what can continue to be unlocked at the next level with the right infrastructure around him to reach his full potential.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Passing-game instincts
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Consistency under pressure
- Tardy decisions
- Pocket drifting
Size (NFL Combine):
Weight: 214 lbs
Arm Length: 32 5/8”
Hand Size: 10”
Athletic Testing (TBD):
40-yard Dash: 0.00s
Vertical Jump: 00”
Broad Jump: 000”
Bench Reps: 00 reps
Ideal Role: Starting quarterback
Scheme Fit: Spread, play-action heavy
Prospect Comparison: Jared Goff (2016 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 87.00/100 (First-Round Value)
- Marino Grade: 87.00/100
Written By: Joe Marino
Exposures: Michigan (2021), Michigan State (2021), Maryland (2021), Penn State (2021), Oregon (2021), Utah (2021), Notre Dame (2022), Wisconsin (2022), Michigan State (2022), Iowa (2022), Penn State (2022), Maryland (20220, Michigan (2022), Georgia (2022), QB Retreat (2022)
CJ Stroud NFL Draft Scouting Report. Add him to your big board here.