The Houston Texans are 5-4 on the season and coming off yet another wild finish, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 30-27. The team is rolling and many believe that this squad right now, even after just entering a rebuild, are already a playoff team. And for good reason. rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans has both sides of the ball playing great, and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud has absolutely gone off this season.
Through 10 weeks (or nine games), Stroud has 2,600 yards, with 15 passing touchdowns, another two rushing, and just two interceptions on the year. He's only completeing just under 62% of his passes, but considering how much he's asked to do on offense, that's not a big concern. If he had a better running game and didn't have to throw 40 times a game some weeks, it wouldn't be that low.
All in all, he's having a great season. He's easily the front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and many people, including famed Super Bowl winning coach and NFL offensive genius Mike Martz, think Stroud may be the best rookie quarterback ever. A statement that's bold, very bold. But an even bolder one is that Stroud is a candidate for the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award.
But is he? Is he really an MVP caliber quarterback right now? Well, let's look at the numbers. He's currently second to Sam Howell for the most yards thrown this season. He's third in yards per completion. He's tied for 9th in touchdowns thrown. He's 28th in completion percentages. 10th in QBR and he's got the 6th highest quarterback rating.
All in all, very good numbers. But I wouldn't put him in the top of the MVP race right now. Stroud is very good and will win the MVP award, but right now his stats aren't jumping off the page compared to other quarterbacks. He's looking great in Houston because the running game has looked just awful up until the current matchup with the Bengals. So Stroud has a lot of sympathy votes coming his way for carrying the Texans offense.
But Baker Mayfield is carrying the Tampa Bay offense, has comprable QBR and quarterback ratings, and has one fewer touchdown. Yet he's not in the conversation, and he's just win one shy of Stroud. So should Stroud realistically be in the MVP conversation?
No. Brock Purdy, Tua Tagovailoa, Dax Prescott and Christian McCaffery are your top four in that category right now, in no particular order. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurtz are also favorites as of right now, with Lamar Jackson also making a case for the award. It's tight and you can make a case for Stroud being in the Top 10 right now for the award (still impressive) but no, he's not as good as those other players.
At least not yet. If at the end of the year the Texans have 10+ wins, have a home playoff game, won the AFC South and the running game didn't really improve much; ok, we'll revisist the conversation. But right now? Today?
No, Stroud is not the league's MVP.