Background: ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rolls out in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 31, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images.
Yesterday, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson’s Mock Draft created quite a splash and ripple effect for Cardinals’ fans on Twitter.
Actually, what Will Brinson meant was that the Cardinals had traded the #3 pick to the Titans who moved up to select QB C.J., Stroud. Brinson did not indicate the full details of the ARI/TEN trade, but he did make a selection for the Cardinals at the Titans’ pick #11: Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson.
“Confession: I actually only had the Cardinals trade out of the No. 3 spot, hoping I would draw the ire of Darren Urban as he rounded up mock drafts for the Cards website and saw another mock trade. But we’re here and they have to take someone so why not a sorely needed rusher off the edge (Myles Murphy).”
However, seeing the Cardinals picking C.J. Stroud at #3 —- particularly seeing that Will Anderson was taken at #2 by DeMeco Ryans and the Texans (as I have been predicting as being very much possible) —- the sight of Stroud to the Cardinals felt very exciting to me.
C.J. Stroud is, in my opinion, the top QB in this draft class.
C.J. Stroud is a plug and play QB talent.
If you have already scoffed at the notion of the Cardinals taking C.J. Stroud, then do yourself a favor and watch Kurt Warner’s outstanding film analysis of the 6-3, 218 pound, two time All-American from Ohio St. Those of you who watch the video will be asked to vote on the poll at the end of the article.
I find it especially fitting that Kurt Warner is evaluating C.J., because in so many ways, Stroud reminds me of KW in terms of hanging in the pocket until the precise time in order to hit an open receiver with accuracy...and the ideal amount touch. That’s what KW was brilliant at —- the grit in the pocket, the timing, the accuracy and, best of all, the touch.
Kurt Warner used to ask every WR on the roster precisely where they want each pass delivered. And he would rep those deliveries over and over in practice.
What’s appealing about C.J. Stroud is that he is a consummate pocket passer, a la Joe Burrow.
With Kyler Murray, the Cardinals have no pocket. A pocket is only a pocket if the QB steps up into it. Kyler is loath to do that. Some will say, sure, because of his short height. But, actually, offensive linemen are taught in pass protection to create clear passing lanes, because even taller QBs need clear passing lanes in the NFL in order to gain a consistent confidence in their throws.
Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have shown the willingness to step up into the pocket and have been successful at it. But, at this point, we do not know if Kyler ever will. Admittedly, I do not believe that an NFL team in this day and age can win a Super Bowl without having a legitimate pocket passer.
Kyler’s tremendous feet and passing skills make him a threat from wherever he passes, but thus far, defenses have shown that if they run controlled pass rushes that “box in” Kyler, it gives them a distinct advantage.
One clear offensive counter to the defense’s “box in” ploy is to move Kyler around via play action and sprint-outs, bootlegs and waggles. But, for whatever the reasons, to date, Kyler, who revealed that he was given full autonomy to run any play, has been reluctant to make those sprint-out and play-actions maneuvers from direct snaps under center a steady aspect of this game.
C.J,. Stroud’s considerable assets:
- He has been very durable as pocket passer, starting 25 of Ohio St.’s games the past two seasons, going 21-4.
- He rarely turns the ball over. His TD/int ratio the past two seasons was 85/12. His fumble/fumbles lost ratio the past two season was 6/2. Think of this —- Stroud turned the ball over only 14 times in 25 games. That is a coach’s dream scenario.
- His career passing stats: 575/830, 69.3%, 8,123 yards, 85 TDs, 12 ints., for a rating of 182.4.
- His stellar play in post-season games:
—- 2021 Rose Bowl in 45-42 win over Utah, he passed for an Ohio State and Rose Bowl record of 573 yards and 6 TDs.
—- 2022 National Semi-Final in a 42-41 loss to Georgia, he threw for 384 yard and 4 TDs versus the most dominant defense in the country.
- For a Cardinals’ team that has had significant rouble finishing strong, C.J. Stroud has shown he can finish with brilliant aplomb.
- Imagine taking C.J. Stroud in R1 this year and Marvin Harrison Jr. in R1 next year?
NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks has been making his case for the Cardinals to consider taking a QB at #3.
“I just think if you’re Monti Ossenfort, you have to consider taking a quarterback there. Not because Kyler Murray isn’t a good player, but we talked about the best way to build a Super Bowl team is with a young quarterback on a cheap deal.”
Brooks doesn’t anticipate that C.J. Stroud will be available at #3, but even with Stroud off the board, he thinks the Cardinals should consider Anthony Richardson at #3 because of Richardson’s freakish talents —- for the reasons he offers in his statement above.
The Cardinals have a strong link to Anthony Richardson in that they have the Florida Gator’s 2022 defensive coordinator (Patrick Toney) and TE coach (William Peagler) on JG’s coaching staff. If Patrick Toney and William Peagler believe that Anthony Richardson is a “can’t miss” superstar-to-be, and they should be apt to know after spending every day with the electrifying, albeit raw QB last season, then maybe MOJO will be inclined to listen.
I have every hope of seeing Kyler Murray return to full health on a mission to play the best football of his career, whether it be at some point this season or at the beginning of next season. But, seeing as Kyler has yet to finish strong in any of his 4 seasons in the NFL, much due to injuries, having two extremely talented QBs (in complimentarily diverse ways) on the team not only could help the team vie for the NFC West title, it also could create huge trade assets (in either case) for the Cardinals over the next few years.
QB durability isn’t just a problem for the Cardinals, especially now that the regular season is 17 games. How many teams needed to use two or three QBs last year?
I believe that competition can and should bring out the best in everyone. And I believe that being as talented as possible at the most important position in football gives a team the best chance to sustain a high level of success.
For those who watched Kurt Warner’s video analysis, if Bryce Young goes #1 and Will Anderson goes #2, should the Cardinals strongly consider taking QB C.J. Stroud at #3?
This poll is closed