I think most fans are excited for the future of the Houston Texans, as they should be. C.J. Stroud, drafted number two overall, marks the beginning of a new era in Texans' football, along with first-time head coach, DeMeco Ryans. The future is certainly brighter these days than in years past. How good will Stroud be though, does he have a solid team to support him his rookie year, should he even start right away? We'll get to that last piece later.
Stroud comes from Rancho Cucamonga High School, located in California. Stroud was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and accepted an offer to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He would redshirt his freshman year and watch Justin Fields, now of the Chicago Bears, do his thing, leading the Buckeyes to the National Championship Game.
As a redshirt freshman, Stroud took over the reins of the most potent offense in the NCAA, finishing number one total offense, as well as scoring; however, those numbers did not get the Buckeyes and Stroud to the College Football Playoffs. The team was invited to the 2021 Rose Bowl against Utah, winning 48 - 45. In that game, Stroud completed 37 of 46 passes for an astounding 573 yards and six touchdowns.
Stroud's sophomore season, while not quite the same statistically, was nonetheless impressive. He threw for nearly 4,000 yards and another 41 touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes back to the College Football Playoffs, where they were defeated in the semi-final game against the eventual NCAA Champions, Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 42 - 41.
Should C.J. Stroud start for the Houston Texans right away?
This is going to be the question all offseason long and only Coach Ryans can answer. Stroud will have some say in that decision though, depending on his progression through OTAs, mini-camp, and the pre-season.
The concern I have with him starting right away is the lack of experience. He's only played in 24 collegiate games and had one of the best collections of talent around him at Ohio State. Was this and the Ohio State scheme the sole reason for Stroud's gaudy numbers? Only time will tell.
I'm no coach and outside of coaching my kid's soccer and football teams, I have zero coaching experience. But it would be beneficial for Stroud and the Texans to let him sit the first couple of months before handing the keys over to him. You can't replace in-game experience, but you can help this kid's development and, more importantly, his confidence by letting him first learn what an NFL defense looks like on the practice field and in the film room.