No. 5: CJ Stroud, Houston Texans
2023 NFL Stats: 15 games | 63.9 pct | 4,108 pass yards | 23 TDs | 5 INT
Wild Card Round vs Cleveland Browns: 76.2 pct | 274 pass yards | 3 TDs | 0 INT
In a 45-14 rout of the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texan showed they are for real and outstanding rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud demonstrated he is already amongst the elite. Call him big game Stroud. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft threw for 3 touchdowns with a 157.2 QB rating in his playoff debut just about cementing his claim for AFC Offensive rookie of the Year.
As he has done from Day 1 with the Texans, Stroud showed leadership in an overall team effort and showcased his elite offensive talent in doing so.
Just look at this beautiful touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Schultz:
If Stroud and the Texans are to take their act on the road and upset the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round matchup everyone will be buzzing around, the rookie QB will need to showcase more playmaking like he did in his playoff debut. In talking about Stroud, Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson knows his team has a big challenge on their hands.
"From my experience, he played better than I did from my rookie playoff game, I would say that,” Jackson said of Stroud’s playoff debut. “He was throwing the ball all over the field, making things happen. He did great. He has been getting nonstop attention on TV. That's a guy you are going to see day in and day out. [No.] 7 – he is throwing the ball all over the field. Even when one of his star receivers, Tank Dell, went down, he has still been making things happen with the guys he has."
When it comes to making things happen both Jackson and Stroud have been at the top of the league all season long. This playoff matchup could be one for the ages with these two studs on display.