C.J. Stroud Cements Himself in the History Books After Impressive Rookie Season

Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud had a record-breaking rookie season. Let's look back at just how good the Ohio State product was this year.

C.J. Stroud had quite the rookie season after being selected second overall by the Houston Texans in the 2023 NFL Draft. Starting the season, Stroud was a month shy of his 22nd birthday and had been one of the most polarizing prospects during the draft process.

However, it didn’t take long for Stroud to silence those who doubted him once the 2023 NFL regular season got underway. Stroud would finish the season with 4,108 passing yards and 23 touchdowns in 15 starts, leading the league in passing yards per game at 273.9.

Looking Back at C.J. Stroud’s Impressive Rookie Season

After everything that transpired in the build-up to the 2023 NFL Draft, there was a lot of focus on Stroud heading into Week 1 of the season. Starting on the road in Baltimore was never going to be easy, and it proved that way, with the Texans falling in a 25-9 loss.

Despite that, Stroud certainly didn’t embarrass himself in any way. He completed 63.6% of his passes for 242 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Stroud found himself under plenty of pressure in those first couple of games, being sacked 11 times in the first two weeks.

Yet, Stroud didn’t throw an interception in either game. Against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2, he threw for 384 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-20 loss. The only real blot on his copybook in those first two games were two fumbles.

From that point on, Stroud cleaned up his act in terms of turnovers. In fact, he didn’t commit another turnover again until Week 6 against the New Orleans Saints. By that point, Stroud had broken the record for the most passes to start a career without being intercepted (192).

That would just be the start of a record-breaking season for the young QB.

Stroud set the record for the most passing yards by a rookie (470) in Houston’s Week 9 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that same game, he also tied the rookie record for touchdown passes in a game with five (shared with five other players).

In the playoff win over the Cleveland Browns, Stroud became the youngest QB in NFL history to win a playoff game. He also tied the record for the most touchdown passes in a playoff game by a rookie (three — shared with three other players).

MORE: 2024 NFL Honors Predictions

Stroud’s rookie numbers saw him lead the league in passing yards per game and interception percentage among qualified players. To be as aggressive as Stroud was at times and avoid turnovers in the way he did was a big part of how the Texans made the playoffs in the 2023-24 season.

Throughout the regular season, Stroud finished third all-time among rookies in passing yards (4,108) and tied for sixth in passing touchdowns with 23. Of the other rookie QBs to throw more than 20 touchdowns in their rookie season, only Dak Prescott had fewer interceptions (four) than Stroud did last year.

The transformation that Stroud’s play brought to Houston was enormous.

The expectations were so low that when the schedule was announced, Houston didn’t have a game outside of the 1 p.m. ET window. Their only prime-time game of the year came in Week 18 against the Colts, while their only 4:30 p.m. kickoffs came in the playoffs.

MORE: What Pick Was Stroud? Revisiting the 2023 NFL Draft

The NFL and their broadcast partners didn’t expect much from the Texans entering the year, but thanks to Stroud’s play, that will likely look much different in 2024.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles