CJ Stroud reveals the one small detail that makes NFL so much harder than college

The 2023 Rookie of the Year sat down with FanSided to talk about his first year in the NFL.
SiriusXM at Super Bowl LVIII – Feb 8
SiriusXM at Super Bowl LVIII – Feb 8 / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

If you watched Texans QB CJ Stroud play at all this season, you'd think the college-to-NFL transistion is easy. Of course, that's not the case, but Stroud – who was announced as the NFL's Rookie of the Year on Thursday – played like not only one of the best rookie QBs in the NFL this season, but simply one of the best QBs across the entire league.

In his first season in Houston, Stroud threw for 4108 yards and 23 touchdowns (100.8 QB Rating) while only throwing five picks and leading the Texans – who only won three games in 2022 – to an AFC South division title. They then beat the brakes off of one of the NFL's premier defenses in Cleveland during the Wild Card round, before playing the Ravens tough in the first, but ultimately fading, in the Divisional round the week after. Still, it's hard to find too many teams with brighter futures than the Texans now that Stroud's their guy.

When speaking with FanSided's "Stacking The Box" Radio Row livestream on Thursday, Stroud explained what, exactly, was the hardest part of adjusting to life in the pros.

"I would say the operational things," Stroud said. "Getting the plays from the head piece, and not getting signals. Getting in and out of the huddle at a high level. Just running the show. And that's something that [Ohio State head coach Ryan Day] helped me out with a lot. I really apprecaite Coach Day preparing me like he did for the next level. It helped me get used to things a little faster. So that was probably the main transition, other than guys playing at a high level. Executing, seeing different defenses, learning the trees that you're about to play from coordinators, stuff like that."

During a week when a lot of the athlete interviews are either scripted or just vague plugs for certain products, it's refreshing to listen to Stroud talk in depth about what it's like for a rookie quarterback in the NFL. You can watch the entire interview – along with tons of others from Radio Row on Thursday – right here.

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