Could CJ Stroud be the best rookie quarterback of all time?

Could CJ Stroud be the best rookie quarterback of all time?

Could CJ Stroud be the best rookie quarterback of all time?

CJ Stroud has been having a truly remarkable season at quarterback for the Texans.

The fact that he was passed up by the Panthers with the first pick of the draft seems like a big miss in hindsight, and although Bryce Young may go on to have a great career in the league, Stroud seems like the perfect quarterback to rejuvenate any franchise – as he has done for the Texans already.

Stroud is performing at such a high level in his rookie season that he is currently the bookies fifth favourite to win this season’s MVP award (no rookie quarterback has ever won this award, and the only rookie to win it was Jim Brown in 1957),  as well as being a 1/20 lock for offensive rookie of the year after only nine games.

The Texans quarterback started the season off by breaking the record for most passing attempts to start a career without an interception, with 186. That was certainly a sign of things to come.

Stroud is sixth this season among all quarterbacks in passer rating with a 101 rating average. Stroud is also leading the league in passing yards per game with 291.8, and has the least interceptions of all quarterbacks this season with just two.

He has led the Texans to more than one great win this season, but his performance against the Buccaneers in week nine really stamped his mark on the league.

Stroud racked up an incredible 470 yards (the record for most single game passing yards by a rookie) with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He ended that game with a 75 yard drive with just 46 seconds left on the clock, ending the drive by connecting with Tank Dell on two clutch throws of 26 yards and then 15 yards for the winning touchdown.

Big game player.

Stroud has not only proven to be a big time player, but he has improved the output of a number of players within the Texans’ franchise.

The aforementioned Tank Dell has had an incredible rookie season so far with Stroud at quarterback, racking up the second most receiving yards per game (63.8) and total receiving touchdowns (5) among all rookie wide receivers.

This is all despite being the ninth receiver picked in this year’s draft after falling to the third round.

Another great example of this is third year player Nico Collins, who after eight games played has 150 more receiving yards than in his previous best season in the NFL. 

Noah Brown is currently in his sixth year in the NFL and has never really gotten going before an okay season with the Cowboys last year, but now that he has hopped onto the CJ Stroud train – he’s really starting to get hot.

Brown is on course to have more receiving yards this season than all of his previous NFL seasons combined, after just five games playing with Stroud.

Brown has had two astounding games the last two weeks with 153 and 172 yards against Tampa Bay and Cincinnati respectively.

While Brown is unlikely to continue this level of production, this is a prime of example of how Stroud seems to be able to get the best out of all those who are playing with him – a characteristic of many great sporting stars.

How does Stroud rank among the great rookies?

How does Stroud rank against the greatest rookie quarterbacks through the years? Well, in terms of passer rating only Dak Prescott and Robert Griffin lll ranked higher in their rookie year than Stroud’s current 101 average rating.

When looking at his passing yards, Stroud currently has the most passing yards per game of all time among rookie quarterbacks, and if he stays on his current course he may well pass Andrew Luck’s record of 4,374 passing yards in a rookie season. 

There is still a lot of football to be played and depending on how the rest of this season goes, Stroud could have a number of statistical records to add to his claim for best rookie quarterback of all time.

Another factor in this debate may be how Stroud tackles his first taste of play-off football, should it come his way in January. The Texans currently look like a strong candidate to reach the play-offs either via a wildcard spot, or atop the AFC South if they continue their recent form.

Looking at the remaining games in the Texans’ season – it really doesn’t look that difficult a road ahead for them. The main challenges that Stroud will have to overcome are the Texans’ division rivals the Jaguars, and the resurgent Russell Wilson’s Broncos.

The biggest game of the Texans’ season looks likely to be their week twelve match-up against the Jaguars. The Texans will be looking to have a repeat of the week three result that saw Stroud get his first NFL win, by beating Jacksonville again for a season sweep.

Winning that game would put the Texans in a great spot to take the AFC South from the Jaguars. First the Texans must navigate a tricky game against the Cardinals this week, with the return of Kyler Murray and James Conner boosting Arizona to victory last week against a poor Falcons side. 

Winning these next two games could see Stroud take a couple of massive strides towards not only the play-offs, but one of the most impressive rookie quarterback seasons of all time.

Regardless of whether everything goes his way or not for the rest of this season, Stroud has vastly improved the Texans from a 3-13-1 team last season to a play-off hopeful mid-way through this season.

Over to you CJ.