Ohio State QB CJ Stroud is the top net passer in the 2023 draft

There has been a lot of debate over who the best quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft really is. Well, we here at PurplePTSD have decided to throw our proverbial hat in the ring and over the next few days we’ll be rolling out Vikings Draft Thermometer features on the top four QBs in this draft class. Today we got the streak starting with the best pure passer in this draft class, Ohio State QB CJ Stroud.


November 26, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) throws during the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 214 lbs
  • Sleeve Length: 32 5/8″
  • Hand Size: 10″
  • School: Ohio State
  • Games Watched: Notre Dame (2022), Wisconsin (2022), Michigan (2022), Georgia (2022)


October 29, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) calls a play during the first half of an NCAA Division I football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory credit. Adam Cairns-Columbus Dispatch Ncaa Football Ohio State Buckeyes Penn State at Nittany Lions

  • 2021: 317/441 (71.9%), 4,435 yards, 44 TDs, 6 INTs (12 games)
  • 2022: 258/389 (66.3%), 3,688 yards, 41 TDs, 6 INTs (13 games)


Ohio State QB CJ Stroud
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) throws a pass during the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl against the Utah Utes in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2022. College Football’s Rose Bowl

The title of this article probably gave away Stroud’s biggest strength, but he has the most upside as a passer in this class out of what we’ve seen while at Ohio State. Stroud is laser sharp with his accuracy in the short intermediate areas of the pitch and he pairs this with a beautiful deep ball.

Plus, you love to see draft prospects perform well against the toughest opponents, and he came up against Georgia in the CFP to have the game of his life despite the Ohio State loss. He completed 67.6% of his passes for 348 yards and 4 TDs in the semifinal game, and with the performance, there should be no question if he can hang with NFL defenses.

Even when forced off the schedule, Stroud shows flashes of the ability to adjust in the pocket, advance through reads and find the open man. He is constantly in balance and never seems out of control. This balance will help him greatly when he gets to the NFL.

Weak spots

December 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) shakes hands with Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jalen Carter (88) after the College Football Playoff semifinal Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Georgia beat Ohio State 42-41. Mandatory credit. Adam Cairns-Columbus Dispatcher Ncaa Football Peach Bowl Ohio State at Georgia State

All potential concerns with Stroud at the NFL level revolve around his lack of ability or willingness to use his legs as weapons. Part of his success against Georgia came from finally using some mobility, thus allaying some concerns that he wasn’t capable of being a mobile threat. That being said, it remains to be seen if this was just a flash pan type of play, as there is very little evidence outside of this play to suggest that he can succeed on the run.

Outside of the sheer brawl, Stroud can also face some challenges when he’s forced to flee. If he gets rattled in the pocket and feels like he needs to roll out, he tends to rush things, which leads to some inaccuracies in his throws.

NFL projection

August 4, 2022; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) shakes hands with wide receiver Jackson Smith-Njigba (11) during the first fall football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Mandatory credit. Adam Cairns-Columbus dispatcher Ohio State’s first football practice

  • Project phase. first overall-top five
  • Immediate role: QB1
  • Best case scenario. More obscure Ben Roethlisberger
  • Vikings Draft Temp. 5:00

Right now, Stroud is far from the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, and for good reason, he has all the talent in the world at quarterback. If he can be more consistent against the run, we’re looking at the type of player that could be a multiple Pro Bowler or even an All-Pro caliber talent. Because of that, the amount of capital the Vikings would have to give up to trade and land him makes it impossible for them to have any chance of picking him in a few weeks.

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Josh Frey is a 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a BA in Creative Writing.. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account. @Freyed_Chicken.

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