C.J. Stroud appears in top 10 of Touchdown Wire’s QB rankings

Finding a franchise quarterback is arguably the toughest job for a general manager in the NFL. While some passers have breakout seasons and regress, others thrive and expand on their numbers each year, thus strengthening their roster’s core.

It’s still too early to determine if Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud will become the next Patrick Mahomes or Carson Wentz, but it’s clear his breakout rookie campaign has people talking. The former No. 2 pick shined en route to winning the AFC South division while claiming Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

But where does Stroud rank among passers heading into Year 2? According to Touchdown Wire, he’s just outside the elite category, appearing in at No. 5.

“Stroud is that dude. Similar to  Jordan ]Love, you don’t need to see another sample or worry about a massive fall off. He’s terrific. The Texans were a tire fire and Stroud had them in the Divisional round of the playoffs as a rookie. Now with Stefon Diggs, along with Nico Collins and Tank Dell, 2024 NFL MVP C.J. Stroud is a very real possibility.” – Touchdown Wire’s Jarrett Bailey 

Few quarterbacks in league history accomplished what Stroud produced in a single season, let alone as a rookie. The former Ohio State star became the fifth player in league history to throw for over 4,000 yards in their first NFL season. 

Stroud, who finished eighth in passing yards (4,108), also led the NFL in yards per game (274) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (23-5). Two other players accomplished the feat in the same season and went on to have Hall of Fame careers. 

The names? Tom Brady and Joe Montana. 

Comparing Stroud to two of the greatest gunslingers in league history after a year would be asinine, but another promising year would catapult him to the top of every ranking. Touchdown Wire listed Stroud as the biggest riser from 2023 but next in line to earn “elite” status, trailing only Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow and Los AngelesJustin Herbert

While two-time MVP Lamar Jackson might find himself in most top-five rankings, Stroud’s arm strength, accuracy and ability to thrive under pressure at least warrants a conversation between the two. Last season in the divisional round matchup against the Ravens, Stroud threw for more yards (175-152), but Jackson’s 100-yard rushing performance capped off with four total touchdowns sealed the 34-10 victory. 

Stroud could very well land in the top three by this time next year, and he’ll have a chance to prove his worth. Per Touchdown Wire’s rankings, the Texans face six of the 10 top-raked quarterbacks in 2024.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire