College: Ohio State
Weakness: Inconsistent Accuracy
CJ Stroud was an excellent distributor for the amazing talent that Ohio State has been collecting at the wide receiver position. Throwing to 5 first round receivers will make any quarterback look great, but Stroud showcased plenty of skill himself.
Stroud's tape is littered with on-time anticipatory throws. Curls and deep outs were a main feature of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson's utility and Stroud made sure the ball was delivered exactly when it needed to be. One man's game manager is another man's surgical assassin. The quarterback's main job is to keep the offense on schedule. Stroud kept the ball moving with consistent efficiency on the boundary and over the middle of the field.
So many college prospects come from offenses that are built on the screen game and play-action deep shots. Ohio State does a good job of mixing in screens, but with Stroud at the helm, they really thrived at exploiting the intermediate level. CJ displays beautiful touch on his passes. He has no problem dropping the ball over the top of linebackers and in front of the safeties.
CJ's ability to sort this layer of the defense kept the offensive scheme wide open. Against Georgia, Ohio State implemented multiple designed throwbacks based on this very skillset and Stroud shred the best defense in college football.
Because of the consistent availability of his elite receivers, Stroud was not often challenged to create the big play. 300+ yards and 5 touchdowns can be a rather ho-hum film session for the merciless machine. Most everything was made easy for him as long as he stayed on time. When Stroud was squeezed, gold came out. So many people were surprised by his Georgia performance. It was quite the revelation.
Stroud's epic throws against Georgia opened eyes to his true upside. He wasn't just managing the game, he was making plays. Even after Marvin Harrison Jr. exited with a concussion, Stroud continued to ball out. Escaping the pocket, dropping dimes downfield , across his body, into tight windows. You name it, he hit it.