The Houston Texans Might Have the Next Andrew Luck at Quarterback in C.J. Stroud
Image Credit: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: C.J. Stroud.

Sometimes, we are successful not because of the decisions we made, but because of the decisions we did not make. And sometimes, we are successful because of the decisions someone else did not make. It is early days, of course, but right now the Houston Texans are the big winners because the Carolina Panthers chose to draft Bryce Young. This left them free to select, with the second overall pick last April, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. So how did Stroud’s first year in the NFL go? How does his debut campaign compare with other players of recent NFL past? Stroud is the latest subject of our Rookie Comparison series.

By The Numbers

Stroud went 9-6 as a rookie and led the moribund Texans to an AFC South division title and a playoff win over the Cleveland Browns. He finished the regular season with 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. Stroud led all qualifying signal callers with a 1.0% interception rate. He passed for more than 270 yards in a game 10 times and eclipsed 300 on six occasions. He threw multiple touchdowns in eight games. This included a career-high five against the Bucs in a 39-37 win in Week 9.

Random Factors

One of the most noticeable things, when looking closely at Stroud’s numbers, was how effective he was in no-huddle situations. The Texans ran no-huddle on 10% of their offensive plays in neutral game situations in 2023. Stroud averaged 8.6 Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt in these situations. He was second among the 18 QBs with at least 50 passes from no-huddle plays with a 110.6 rating. Stroud was not satisfied dinking and dunking at these times. Oh no, he went big game hunting, with a 9.3-yard average throw distance. Indeed, Stroud was one of the best deep passers in the entire NFL. His Next Gen Stats passing chart can attest to this.

Stroud was able to develop exceptional chemistry with several pass catchers in his offense. Notably, he was able to fully activate Nico Collins, who had been something of an underachiever in his career before Stroud turned up.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. How good was Stroud from a fantasy point of view as a rookie?

Pretty bloody good. Almost straight out of the gate, Stroud was a player that fantasy managers were happy to have on their roster. Stroud posted top-12 numbers eight times and was the overall QB1 in Week 9. Stroud finished as the QB7 in fantasy points per game as a rookie. Not bad at all for a guy who was the QB28 in terms of ADP when the season began.

Historical Comps

To find players who enjoyed comparable seasons, I did what we’ve done in the past when carrying out this series. I set the RotoViz Screener to find rookies from 2010 to 2022 and selected some basic production and usage numbers as variables. Then I asked the Screener to find seasons comparable to my target player — in this instance, Stroud.

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Neil Dutton

Lead Writer, soft spot for the tight end position. Will never stop loving Duke Johnson.

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