Seriously, which rookie had a better rookie season than C.J. Stroud? He had an outstanding rookie campaign, one so good that he wasn't just in the discussion for the best rookie quarterbacks in the league, but in the overall conversation for the best quarterback in the league. Many had Stroud in the top 10 in the entire league, and you know what? Maybe he was.
He certainly was that good at times. Maybe he needs another season to really earn that title, and that'd be fair if that's your stance, but what can't be denied is that he was the best rookie quarterback of the season, and among the, if not the, best rookies the NFL had to offer on either side of the ball.
Sure, Puka Nacua had a great year for the Los Angeles Rams, putting up nearly 1,500 yards, and six touchdowns while earning a Pro Bowl nod, but he didn't drive the offense the way Stroud did. Stroud was the engine that moved the Houston Texans' offense, and Nacua was just the awesome fresh new tires that allowed the Rams' offense to go as fast as they could.
Still vital, but without Matthew Stafford throwing him the ball, Nacua wouldn't have had the same impact on the Rams. That's not a knock on Nacua, just the truth about receivers in general. A good receiver is important but a good quarterback is necessary.
Stroud was a Top 10 player at his position for most of the year, and Nacua may be able to say the same thing, but it's that "may" that holds him back some. Nacua benefited from Stroud being his quarterback, just like the Texans' Nico Collins and Tank Dell benefited from having Stroud as theirs.
When you play a position so dependent on another, it's hard to give someone that award, especially when the quarterback has to be the one that gives them their opportunities. Not picking Stroud to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year would be a slap in the face, as Stroud did the near-impossible this season.
On a team that no one believed in, with a coach no one had a clue would be good, and dealing with an ownership situation that can't be really predicted, all Stroud did was lead his team to the second round of the playoffs.
Stats aside, considering the situation Stroud walked into, his ability to steady the ship and get the most out of his teammates is all the sign you need for him to walk away with the award.