VDT: Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud Is the Best Pure-Passer in the 2023 Draft
There has been much debate regarding who actually is the best quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. Well, we here at PurplePTSD have decided to throw our proverbial hat into the ring, and throughout the next few days, we will be releasing Vikings Draft Thermometer features on the consensus top four QBs in this draft class. Today, we get the series started with the best pure-passer in this draft class, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud.
- Height: 6’3
- Weight: 214 pounds
- Arm Length: 32 5/8″
- Hand Size: 10″
- School: Ohio State
- Games Watched: Notre Dame (2022), Wisconsin (2022), Michigan (2022), Georgia (2022)
- 2021: 317/441 (71.9%), 4435 yards, 44 TDs, 6 INTs (12 games)
- 2022: 258/389 (66.3%), 3688 yards, 41 TDs, 6 INTs (13 games)
The title of this article probably gave away Stroud’s biggest strength, but he has the most upside as a passer in this class from what we saw during his time at Ohio State. Stroud is laser-sharp with his accuracy in the short-intermediate areas of the field, and he pairs that with a beautiful deep ball.
On top of that, you like to see draft prospects perform well against the toughest opponents, and he showed up against Georgia in the CFP to have the game of his life despite Ohio State’s loss. He completed 67.6% of his passes for 348 yards and 4 TDs in the semifinal game, and with the performance, it shouldn’t be a question of whether he can hang against NFL defenses.
Even when forced off-schedule, Stroud shows flashes of an ability to adjust in the pocket, progress through reads, and find the open man. He constantly stays in balance and never seems out of control. This poise will help him greatly when he gets to the NFL.
All the potential concerns with Stroud at the NFL level revolve around his lack of ability or willingness to use his legs as a weapon. Part of the success he had against Georgia involved finally utilizing some mobility, thus lessening some of the concerns that he isn’t capable of being a mobile threat. That being said, it remains to be seen if this was just a ‘flash in the pan’ type of game because there is very little evidence outside of this game suggesting that he can find success on the run.
Outside of just purely scrambling, Stroud can also run into some trouble when he’s forced to throw on the run. If he gets rattled in the pocket and senses that he needs to roll out, he tends to rush things a touch, leading to some inaccuracies with his throws.
- Draft Round: First Overall-Top Five
- Immediate Role: QB1
- Best-Case Scenario: More elusive Ben Roethlisberger
- Vikings Draft Temperature: 5
Right now, Stroud is far and away the favorite to be the first overall pick in the draft this year, and for good reason, he has all the talent in the world at the quarterback position. If he can be more consistent on the run, we’re looking at a type of player that could be a multiple time Pro Bowler or even an All-Pro caliber talent. For that reason, the amount of draft capital the Vikings would have to give up in order to trade up and land him makes it infeasible that they will have any chance at selecting him in a few weeks.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.