How Did C.J. Stroud Stack Up Against His Fellow Rookie Quarterbacks?
C.J. Stroud's first game is in the books and so are his rookie peers
C.J. Stroud’s first preseason game is in the books as are his fellow rookie quarterbacks. Stroud’s career is inherently linked to three quarterbacks that were in his draft class. You can read the deep dive into Stroud’s first game at the link below.
Bryce Young was the first overall pick, a pick the Houston Texans could have had if not for a win in the final game of last season. He plays for the Carolina Panthers who will play host to the Texans this season.
The other two quarterbacks are in the division and will be regular opponents. Anthony Richardson was the fourth overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. Will Levis was the 33rd overall selection by the Tennessee Titans.
All three of these quarterbacks, especially the division foes, could have been the next quarterback of the Houston Texans. They aren’t though. That is C.J. Stroud’s future.
Here’s how Stroud compared to the other quarterbacks in week one of the preseason.
The Carolina Panthers did something the Houston Texans didn’t do for C.J. Stroud: they played mostly starters on their offensive line. And it was a good thing too. Even with starters out there, Young took some shots from his opponents the New York Jets. Young bounced back up each time. He sailed a third down pass to where his receiver had no chance.
Final line: 4/6 for 21 yards. One sack for a loss of nine yards
The Indianapolis Colts also gave their rookie quarterback most of the starters, including their best offensive lineman guard Quenton Nelson. Anthony Richardson also threw an interception on his first drive, as C.J. Stroud did. It was an absolutely atrocious play. Richarson threw the ball wildly off his back foot in the face of pressure and there was no chance of any Colts player making a play on the ball.
Richardson had some nice throws when he made quick decisions. When he couldn’t get the ball out quickly the slightest bit of panic caused him to run. He sailed a pass to an open receiver that even the tallest Indiana Pacers player ever Rik Smits couldn’t have caught. He did have a very nice run wiped away due to a holding call by former Houston Texans player Pharaoh Brown (sound familiar?).
Final line: 7/12 for 67 yards. One interception. Two rushes for seven yards
Will Levis is the lone quarterback here who didn’t start the game. He came in to relieve Malik Willis and then rotated with Willis throughout the game. Which was strange, to say the least. His first throw was probably one of the best of any of the rookie quarterbacks. He was rolling to his right when he threw a strike for a gain of 21 yards.
Levis had another nice throw later in the game to an open receiver but he blew a couple of easy passes, including tossing a grounder on a screen pass. He had a couple of pass catchers betray him with drops, and he avoided pressure well. His final pass was a toss nowhere near any of his teammates that the Chicago Bears defense intercepted to win the game.
Final line: 9/14 for 85 yards. One interception. One rush for six yards. Four sacks for loss of 15 yards
The current ranking is based on how the players did, who they played against, and who they played with. These will be fickle and change easily as there is more to consume.
Young was the lone clean game and played against some of the starters for the Jets defense. Stroud played without his starting offensive line, and the reason he is ahead of Will Levis is he started and played against better defenders and his interception was a bit more competitive than Levis tossing it up like the jackpot game at recess with a chance to win the game. Richardson’s interception was inexcusable and a play people try to make in Madden, not the NFL.
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