NFL Insider: How far CJ Stroud could slide in the NFL Draft

On3 imageby:Barkley Truax04/23/23

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CJ Stroud‘s NFL Draft stock has slightly dropped following the dramatic odds change regarding Will Levis and the Houston Texans with the No. 2 overall pick. So where does that leave Stroud?

According to ESPN analyst Jeremy Fowler, Stroud won’t be waiting too much longer after the first two selections. The former Ohio State star is still a hot commodity for NFL teams shopping for their next franchise quarterback.

“CJ Stroud, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of momentum with him and the Texans at No. 2,” said Fowler on SportsCenter. “We’ll see. If he doesn’t go No. 2, where does he fit? So I’ve been asking around teams, asking will this guy slide potentially and they said, look, this guy is still a top-tier quarterback in this class.

“If he slips, it will not be very far. Some team outside of the top-10 could go and try to get him, jump up if he slips to No. 5 or 6, maybe they could make that move.”

According to a report by Jason La Canfora’s of the Washington Post, there has been some ‘bad blood’ brewing between Stroud’s agent and the Houston Texans as of late, leading to the Texans souring on the former Ohio State star. Stroud’s agent, David Mulugheta, represents former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The saga between Watson and the Texans’ has bene well documented, and the prior engagements between, Mulugheta and the Texans has strained the relationship between the franchise and former Buckeye.

“There’s a lot of bad blood there,” an anonymous NFL general manager said La Confora’s article. “I don’t think (Cal) McNair could stomach having Mulugheta’s next top quarterback be the next face of his franchise. I think that’s a non-starter there. … If Stroud has a different agent? He is the second overall pick.”

Whichever team ends up drafting Stroud, they’ll be selecting a proven winner. Going 21-4 as a starting quarterback, Stroud’s historic two-year run as the guy in Columbus saw him throw for 8,123 total yards.

In his first season as the starter, Stroud finished fifth in the FBS with 4,435 passing yards in addition to 44 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing fourth in the voting. Stroud had his best performance of that season in a 48-45 Rose Bowl victory Utah, throwing 573 yards and six touchdowns — both career highs.

This past season, didn’t disappoint, as he finished third in Heisman Trophy voting and threw for 3,688 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Regardless, Stroud will hear his named called shortly after the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 27 in Kansas City, Missouri. The draft will begin on 8 p.m. ET and will be aired live on ESPN, ABC and the NFL Network.