C.J. Stroud Officially Declares For 2023 NFL Draft: Could He Be The First Overall Pick?

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rolls out in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 31, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Ohio State’s junior quarterback C.J. Stroud waited until the last day possible to declare for the 2023 NFL draft, but he finally did.

He pinned a letter to his Twitter to make the official announcement.

“This process has been difficult, and the decision, one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. As a kid, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after much prayer, I’ve made a decision that it’s time to turn those dreams into a reality. With that said. I am declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft,” said Stroud.

Stroud is highly regarded as the second-best quarterback prospect in this year’s draft behind Alabama’s Bryce Young, but his performance against Georgia in the College Football National Semifinal game turned some heads.

C.J. Stroud vs. Bryce Young: By The Numbers

Unfortunately, football fans never got a chance to see the two California natives share the field together in college, but both Stroud and Young played in big games for their respective universities.

So, let’s take a dive into some of the numbers for the two quarterbacks.

In Stroud’s two seasons starting at Ohio State he threw for 8,123 yards, 85 passing touchdowns, and completed 69.3 percent of his passes, with just 12 interceptions.

Stroud was a two-time Heisman finalist, two-time Big Ten Player of Year, two-time All-American, and first quarterback in Big Ten history to have consecutive 30-plus passing touchdowns seasons.

Young threw for 8,356 yards, 80 passing touchdowns, and completed 65.8 percent of his passes with 12 interceptions in two seasons as Alabama’s starting quarterback.

Both players’ numbers have been impressive over their college careers, but Stroud turned heads in his final game. Young constantly showed the ability to make spectacular throws while escaping the strong pass rush from SEC defensive linemen. These rare talents earned him the 2021 Heisman award.

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Stroud’s mobility really stood out against Georgia. He showed the ability to use his legs to extend plays and pick up first downs against the best defense in college football and the top-rated defensive line prospect, Jalen Carter.

It is also noted that Stroud was without starting running back TreVeyon Henderson, starting wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, starting offensive lineman Avery Henry, and three other notable offensive backups when he faced the Bulldogs. Marvin Harrison Jr. went out in the second half with a concussion and couldn’t finish the game as well.

Skip Bayless took to Twitter to congratulate Stroud on his performance and thought he should’ve pulled off the upset.

“Congrats to CJ Stroud for playing the game of his life, throwing AND RUNNING Ohio State into position to pull off the upset – all without his best running back and, in the end, his TWO best receivers. What a heartbreaker,” said Bayless on Twitter after the Peach Bowl.

Stroud also has the edge in the size department with his 6-foot-3 and 215-pound frame versus Young 6-foot and 195-pound frame.

Can Stroud Break Ohio State Quarterback Curse

The Buckeyes have always been able to produce some of the best quarterback prospects, but those same guys have flamed out in the NFL.

This stigma dates back to Art Schlichter who was selected in the 1982 NFL draft as the fourth overall pick by the Baltimore Colts. Schlichter struggled with a gambling addiction that followed throughout college and into the NFL.

Cardale Jones was a fourth-round pick in 2016 by the Buffalo Bills. Jones spent only one season in Buffalo before being traded to the Chargers. He was waived by the Chargers, but re-signed to the practice squad. Now, Jones is playing in the XFL hoping for another shot back into the NFL.

Dwayne Haskins was drafted by the Washington in 2019 with 15th overall pick. He was benched several times over two seasons before being released at the end of the 2020 season. He was then signed as a backup by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but had an untimely death in April 2022.

Justin Fields was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2021 NFL draft with the 11th overall pick. The Bears currently hold the first pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Fans have suggested they draft a new quarterback and trade Fields.