Will a top-tier receiver room hold back the perception of C.J. Stroud?

Quarterbacks need good wide receivers to win but having too many may hold back the perception of said quarterback.
Houston Texans Mandatory Minicamp
Houston Texans Mandatory Minicamp / Tim Warner/GettyImages

A quarterback is often seen as being the most important player on a team. Yet, they need an offensive line that can block, a running back who can help take the pressure off of him, and a great group of wide receivers and tight ends to help catch the ball. They're a very important position, but they're often one that can't make plays unless the other 10 people on his side of the ball step up and execute.

They're a very dependent position. Yet, people like to pretend otherwise. They often load expectations on a quarterback that maybe a half-dozen in the history of football was ever able to live up to. When that player falters, the media and fandoms like to tear that quarterback apart. It's wild, how little leeway others give the position but that's the reality we're in. People chastise quarterbacks for failing with no help around them, and people chastise them for succeeding with help around them.

There's at times no winning. So when we saw this tweet from Kurt Benkert about the differences between Joe Burrow and Brock Purdy, we couldn't help but wonder how perception could affect the career of C.J. Stroud.

Right now, a lot of people are giving Stroud credit for the breakout season that Nico Collins had in 2023, as well as the exciting possibilities of fellow second-year-player, Tank Dell. Dell had a massive year last year before his injury and many of us believed it was due to Stroud excelling.

Yet, with the pressure now on Stroud, and the arrival of Stefon Diggs to the team, could we see the media and fandom betray Stroud too? Purdy and Burrow are both great quarterbacks, and both deserve to be seen as such. Too many people are too quick to assume that a guy is better or worse than he is because of minor differences.

For Burrow, he achieved huge things at LSU, but plenty of Heisman-winning quarterbacks fail in the NFL. That's not a sign that Burrow is some great talent on its own, as there's a big leap in difficulty going from the college to the pro game. Just like Purdy's status isn't a sign that he isn't truly great. Everyone is trying to take away from him by saying he's a "system quarterback", without ever realizing that every quarterback is a system quarterback.

Every quarterback ever has to have a system that plays to his talents. Not every quarterback can excel in a "good system", as many claims is happening with Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers. Just like not every quarterback can play in someone else's system. Put Peyton Manning in Michael Vick's system, and vice versa, and watch both men fail in this league.

Same thing for Purdy. He's in a system that benefits him, but not every quarterback can succeed in his system, just like Purdy can't succeed in every system. Yet, the discourse has been watered down so much around pro sports, that people don't get that.

So with the brightest spotlight ever on Stroud, we are now going to see people pick him apart far more than he deserves. While somehow giving him more credit than he deserves and less credit than he's earned. The perception around him will undoubtedly change, and we'll see a lot of bad actors in the sports sphere make some outlandish claims about him. For better or worse.

That's the sad reality of getting national exposure in the NFL, while also rubbing shoulders with Pro Bowl-level talent.