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There were plenty of rumors concerning what the Houston Texans were going to do with the No. 2 overall pick, but when it came time to write that name on the draft card, Houston's front office chose a quarterback in C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State. Stroud is the first Big Ten quarterback selected in the top 10 of an NFL draft since 1995, when Kerry Collins was taken No. 5 overall by the Carolina Panthers.

Stroud is one of the top prospects in this class, regardless of position. A four-star recruit from Rancho Cucamonga High School in California, Stroud served as a redshirt backup to current Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields before taking the college football world by storm the past two seasons. 

Stroud combined to throw for more than 8,000 yards and 85 touchdowns (compared to just 12 interceptions) in 2021-22 while becoming Ohio State's first two-time Heisman Trophy QB finalist. And perhaps his best performance came in his biggest game -- the 2023 College Football Playoff semifinal matchup with top-ranked Georgia. Despite the Buckeyes' narrow defeat, Stroud dazzled by completing 23 of his 34 passes for 348 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also used his legs on several occasions to extend drives, easing doubts of him only being a pristine pocket passer.

While Stroud was not the first quarterback taken off the board in this draft, some see him as the safest option in the entire class. There aren't questions about his frame, he's plenty athletic, and he could be more of a dual-threat signal-caller at the next level. The one unconfirmed knock on Stroud was a reportedly low S2 cognition score. However, Brandon Ally, the co-founder of the test, has come out and said some of the reported scores are not accurate. The Texans needed a new franchise quarterback following Deshaun Watson's departure, and Stroud will have a chance to fill that void. 

Below is a comprehensive draft profile for Stroud, including his scouting report, prospect ranking, pro comparison, combine results, college and high school accolades and overall NFL outlook.

NFL Draft grade: B

"They had to take the shot at the quarterback, so it's the smart thing to do. I would have taken Will Levis, but I get it. Stroud has the ability to become a good starting quarterback." -- Pete Prisco

Join us for live 2023 NFL Draft analysis from CBS Sports and an updating NFL Draft trackerAlso check out Pete Prisco's NFL Draft grades for every first-round pick and subscribe to the "With the First Pick" podcast for nightly recaps, winners and losers and more from Kansas City.

C.J. Stroud draft profile

  • Age: 21
  • Hometown: Inland Empire, California
  • Interesting fact: Ohio State's only two-time Heisman Trophy QB finalist
  • CBS Sports prospect ranking: No. 4 overall | No. 2 QB | 92.10 rating (All-Pro)

NFL combine measurements/results

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 214 lbs | Arms: 32 5/8" | Hands: 10"

  • 40-yard dash: N/A
  • Broad jump: N/A
  • Vertical jump: N/A

NFL comparison

Geno Smith
SEA • QB • #7
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Scouting report

C.J. Stroud is a better all-around QB coming out of Ohio State than Justin Fields, and he showed that he has the athleticism to win with his legs in the Georgia game. He will be in the conversation for QB1.


  • Will get through same-side progressions, and ball comes out quickly
  • Proved vs. Georgia that he can win with his legs if he needs to
  • Can throw off-platform with rushers in his face; will drop it in the bucket off-platform
  • Doesn't throw with a lot of anticipation but does throw accurately
  • Understands where hot reads are vs. CB blitz
  • When he's locked in, can drop into the bucket on deep throws; shows good touch to all three levels


  • While generally accurate, can miss by small amounts on short throws
  • Tries to get through reads but can hurry through them when pressured, then can panic in clean pocket
  • Won't pull trigger on anticipation throws into tight windows
  • Sometimes late seeing targets come open

College stats, accolades

YearGamesCompletion %YardsTDINT






  • Career: Tied for second in program history with five Big Ten individual awards won (tied with Justin Fields and Orlando Pace, only trailing Braxton Miller's seven)
  • 2022: Second-team All-American (Walter Camp Foundation, CBS Sports, American Football Coaches Association)
  • 2021-22: Two-time Heisman Trophy finalist
  • 2021-22: Two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
  • 2021-22: Two-time Big Ten Quarterback of the Year
  • 2021-22: Two-time first-team All-Big Ten (media and coaches)
  • 2021: Big Ten Freshman of the Year
  • 2021: Third-team All-American (AP)
  • 2021: Freshman All-American (The Athletic) 
  • Seven-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week
  • Two-time Offensive Player of the Week

Notable statistics

  • Career: Set 16 program passing and total offense records 
  • Career: Set three Big Ten records: single-season passing yards (3,193) and single-season TD passes (34) in Big Ten games only in 2021; career pass efficiency (182.39)
  • Career: First Big Ten QB to have 30+ touchdown passes in back-to-back seasons
  • 2022: FBS leader in pass efficiency rating (177.7)
  • 2021: Second in FBS in passing TDs (41)
  • 2021: Led nation's best total offense (561.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (45.7 points per game)
  • 2021: Top five in FBS in passer efficiency rating (second, 186.6), yards/attempt (second, 10.1), touchdown passes (third, 44), completion percentage (third, 71.9), yards per game (third 369.6).
  • 2021: Set five Rose Bowl game records
  • 2021 (vs. Michigan State): Walter Camp National Player of the Week
  • 2021: Third in FBS in passing TDs (44)
  • 2021: Second in FBS in pass efficiency rating (186.6)

247Sports profile

High school: Rancho Cucamonga (Rancho Cucamonga, California)
Class: 2020
Composite Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (0.9780)

  • National: 42 | Pro-style QB: 2 | California: 4

High school accolades: Second-team All-State (MaxPreps), Elite 11 MVP, All-American bowl selection

Check out C.J. Stroud's full 247Sports profile, here. For his MaxPreps profile, click here.