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ESPN grades C.J. Stroud

How’s the rook doing according to the sports network?

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN recently dropped their all-too-early rookie quarterback report. Among other things, it seems to have a fairly balanced approach to just where Houston Texans’ rookie QB C.J. Stroud sits going into week 3 of the NFL preseason.


What’s the overall impression so far?

Stroud’s ball placement, at times, has been impressive. When he has his feet set with a clean pocket, he tends to place the ball wherever the pass needs to go. Against the Miami Dolphinsin Week 2 of the Houston Texans’ preseason games, Stroud had two throws to wide receiver Noah Brown on the run and placed the ball where only Brown could catch it. Stroud’s third-down throw in the first quarter to wide receiver Robert Woods also showcased ball placement. The pass was only in an area where Woods could catch it. The next step for Stroud is turning those flashes into consistency.

From what I’ve seen so far, the consistency is growing, and is also directly tied to the offensive line’s ability to slow down the pass rush. However, Stroud is adapting to a porous blocking package as well. How will he fair this weekend against the New Orleans Saints? We’ll have to wait and see...


Where does Stroud clearly need work?

Through two preseason games, Stroud has had issues against man coverage. He’s 2-for-8 passing for 25 yards with an interception in a limited sample size. But that’s not all on the former Ohio State standout, as his receivers must help him by giving him bigger windows to fit passes into.

What’s the forecast for the season?

There will be ups and downs, just like his camp and preseason. One game that left fans uneasy and another after which they felt relieved. He’s a rookie working with a wide receiver corps that has to prove itself. That’s a combination for a roller-coaster ride. — DJ Bien-Aime