Carolina Panthers should monitor C.J. Stroud
Two years ago, it seemed as though the Carolina Panthers had an easy path to acquiring former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, they passed on him to select uber-talented South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.
Fields would go on to be drafted by the Chicago Bears with the No. 11 overall selection. While fans may point to the lack of success in recently drafted Buckeyes quarterbacks, it’s essential to know that the landing spot and the situation matter in the aspect of a player’s development.
Ohio State has produced incredibly productive and talented NFL quarterbacks in recent years, including the late Dwayne Haskins and Fields. This year, C.J. Stroud is expected to be the next in line to be a high draft from the program.
Stroud is arguably the best quarterback in college football going into the new season. Coming off a year in which he completed under 72 percent of his passes for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns, Stroud is the reigning Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, a Davey O’Brien finalist, and a Heisman Trophy finalist.
As a redshirt freshman, Stroud struggled with consistency early on in the first half of the regular season to the point where some were calling for his benching. However, he turned it around during the second half of the year and capped off the season by throwing for 573 yards and six touchdowns in a Rose Bowl win over Utah.
One of the former five-star’s best traits is his football IQ. Stroud does a wonderful job working pre-snap and post-snap, working his eyes across the field with minimal fuss.
Stroud always goes through his reads and progressions, an area he improved on late last season. The signal-caller also offers great arm talent and accuracy on all three levels of the field.
While he can be a little bit hesitant in the pocket, Stroud showed real improvement with his footwork within small spaces from Week 1 to the Rose Bowl. His poise and awareness under pressure also showed great improvement as the campaign went along.
If Stroud can show consistency and improve his footwork, he should a top-two player on the Panthers’ draft board at the end of this season.