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Houston Texans’ C.J. Stroud to Tank Dell: Most unstoppable rookie combo ever?

Hard to remember the last time two rookies cooked like this.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Just 10 games into the 2023 NFL season and it’s pretty clear Nick Caserio homered a few times in April’s draft.

Former Ohio State Buckeye turned second overall pick by the Houston Texans C.J. Stroud currently has 223 completions on 355 attempts for 2962 yards, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions, a 99.3 quarterback rating, several rookie records and a jersey in the NFL Hall of Fame. His Week 9 obliteration of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s pass defense brought 470 of those yards, with five touchdowns and no picks. Hence the Hall nod.

In those impressive Stroud stats lies the contribution from fellow rookie, third round pick Nathaniel “Tank” Dell. Over the course of seven starts, Dell has caught 42 of Stroud’s 223 completions, for 659 of Stroud’s air yards and six of his touchdowns.

With those numbers, Dell has 22.2 percent of Stroud’s yardage, 18.8 percent of his completions and 35.3 percent of his touchdowns.

All in only 70 percent of Stroud’s games.

Somewhere, an NFL analyst has access to the historical data that shows the most valuable rookie duo in league history. But, until that data is made available, I’m telling the kids it’s Stroud and Dell.

And, if you still aren’t impressed, well, you can’t argue the greatness of Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins.

If Tank Dell sits on the Texans wide receiver Mt Rushmore, C.J. Stroud threw him there.

Stroud’s 2,962 yards passing are the fourth-most ever in a player’s first 10 games, and he joined Joe Burrow as the only rookies in NFL history with 300 or more yards passing in three consecutive games.

Houston’s Tank Dell had a season-high 149 yards on eight receptions and set a franchise rookie record with his sixth touchdown catch.

And, we still have seven more games of this coming our way.

Next up, the division lead is on the line when Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars come to town. Think they have Stroud and Dell on lock? Think again...

Sep 24, 2023, 06:49 PM ET

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud made history during Sunday’s 37-17 upset of the Jacksonville Jaguars after he went 20-for-30 for 280 yards and two touchdowns.

The outing made him the first quarterback in NFL history to have at least 900 passing yards, four pass touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first three career starts, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.