Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Alabama’s Bryce Young may be the winner of the Heisman Award, but Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is clearly the best player on the college football team in the 2023 NFL Draft.
History has shown that collective devices do not automatically mean future success. It’s happened quite often lately, but the likes of Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manzel, Marcus Mariota and Baker Mayfield (so far) haven’t translated into the professional game and have been warnings.
This doesn’t mean Young isn’t a quality prospect. But he cannot be automatically pushed above every other midfielder in the draft boards based on what he has done as part of the country’s most successful football program.
Just the fact that Stroud and Young are in the early conversation with the top draft selections is a wonderful change of pace after this year’s set of signal callers could be described as the worst of this century.
“It was a really weak category,” an AFC executive told Heviz. Matt Lombardo. “Everyone knew that all along, but everyone tried to sell these guys to each other.”
As a result, some franchisees desperate to pump talent under the center are heading to the center with a focus on next April. This can benefit the entire class. Kentucky’s Will Levis, Miami’s Tyler Van Dyck, Florida’s Anthony Richardson and Stanford’s Tanner McKee should be in the first round as well.
But Stroud must lead the way as a truly outstanding talent with first-line potential.
Eventually, the conversation will hinge on Young vs. they finished first and fourth, respectively, in last year’s Heisman vote. Their situation has now turned slightly, with Stroud entering this season as Favorite bet for the award.
Stroud’s physical tools, skill set, and productivity and growth potential put him at the top of this year’s crop.
Stroud and Young’s physical stature is day and night and is likely to be the biggest difference in their ratings. The first is 6’3″ and 218 pounds, and the last is 6’0″ and 194 pounds.
2021 Heisman Cup Finalists – Left to Right: Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, CJ Stroud of Ohio State and Bryce Young of Ohio State. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Young’s height is not as problematic as before. After all, offenses out of the gun run on a regular basis, and the league’s shorter options have worked out lately.
However, Young’s slight frame would be a major concern when it came to taking the NFL bombing. Jim McMahon (6’1″, 195 lbs) in 1982 is the last quarterback in the first round for the past 40 years and weighs under 200 lbs. Men like Mayfield (6’1″, 215 lbs), Kyler Murray (5 10 feet, 207 pounds) and Russell Wilson (5’11”, 215 pounds) are shorter rear pimps, but they are thickly built. They can create great torque in the lower body and hips due to their squat tires.
Regardless of typical NFL size standards, Stroud’s classes throw in all three levels. The 20-year-old passer is especially skilled when he drives the ball down the field. His pure arm strength might not reach the levels of Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, but he should be considered among the next level.
Deep scrolling is also a byproduct of timing and touch. according to Focus on professional footballStroud was the most accurate college football passer of the sprinting season. Next, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year threw 573 yards and six touchdowns in a victory over Utah Utes in the Rose Bowl.
It is important to distinguish between these two points to ensure that the number is not skewed by this historical performance.
“I’d say with CJ, he really drops the ball there. The best way to put it is like Russell Wilson,” former teammate and first-round wide receiver Garrett Wilson told the Big Ten Network last year. Lantern‘s Jacob Bing).
The PFF also ranked Stroud as their best midfielder last season with 67.6 per cent Accurate success rate.
The NFL evaluators will start drooling more than the pocket-happening quarterback, keeping his eyes on the bottom of the field and consistently delivering football with a smooth, compact delivery.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (Zach Bollinger/Sportswear Icon via Getty Images)
Youth is no slouch either. He has a great sense of the game with excellent touch inside the plot and creativity outside the structure. But his standing will remain a sticking point.
Meanwhile, Levis brings the best combination of size (6’3″, 232 pounds) and raw arm talent, plus two years of learning under the guidance of current or former Kentucky NFL offensive coordinators Liam Quinn and Rich Scangarillo. In the second half of last season That performance should repeat during an entire campaign. Richardson is a raw pile of elite sporting qualities. Finally, Mackie is the 6’6″ pro quarterback coming out of Stanford, and he should help the program rise from the straits of the past three seasons.
To take the next step, Stroud simply needs to build on what he’s already done. Last season, the Ohio State player became the only FBS quarterback to finish in the top five in completion percentage (71.9), passing yards (4435), passing touchdowns (44), yards per attempt (10.1) and quarterback rating (186.6) .
Anything near or above those numbers would cement Stroud’s status not only as the best quarterback but also the leading candidate for the first overall pick (yes, even over Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. because of positional value).
The signal caller in the third year knows he has to improve in certain areas, particularly in attack command and become louder in the locker room.
“He’s talking. He’s more mature. He wants to win,” wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba Reporters. “You know, we’re all excited. He’s a competitor, and nobody wants to win more than him, and he wants to take that to the whole team and spread it.”
Head coach Ryan Day added, “I think CJ has really grown in terms of his leadership this year, and he just has a broad perspective, you know, about everything that’s going on, not just his job. He’s a coach now. I know the number one thing he has is he wants to win, and every Another minor thing. And he trained this way.”
A better understanding of the attack and increased comfort in it should speed up Stroud’s process. Like most quarterbacks, a year-old can be quicker to come off his first read and work his way up through his progression to the point where he becomes much more natural in how he sees the field.
Buckeyes’ current setup provides a major task, as Stroud needs to grow mentally within the scheme while taking on more responsibility with the reformulated support team. He is now the focal point of the crime. Everything flows through him and how he distributes the ball.
Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba with a touchdown reception during the Buckeyes’ 48-45 Rose Bowl victory over Utah Utes. (Sean M. Heavi/Getty Images)
Ohio State remains extremely talented in reception with Smith Ngigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., Julian Fleming and Emeka Igboka. But the group isn’t quite as experienced as it was last year, when two first-rounders – Wilson and Chris Olaf – surrounded the formation. Essentially, the roles have reversed, with Stroud set to make his goals higher than expectations.
Stroud fits the prototype of the professional midfielder. Its attributes as obvious bitterness. He plays at the highest level possible and produces against top competitors. He has a great opportunity to build a really great CV. Maybe Stroud will get his Heisman Cup.
Either way, this season should mark Stroud’s crowning as the best quarterback and the nation’s top choice in 2023 even if he doesn’t walk away with 45 pounds of bronze cast in the shape of Ed Smith.
Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, Tweet embed.