C.J. Stroud barely cracks top 10 of PFF’s QB rankings

C.J. Stroud is the franchise quarterback for the Houston Texans. He’s hopefully the long-term answer at NRG Stadium for the game’s most important position. 

But is Stroud a consensus top-five gunslinger entering 2024? According to one outlet, he just cracked the top 10 after winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema ranked Stroud as the No. 10 QB entering minicamp. Now while the Ohio State product fell under the radar, the reasonings bode well in his favor. 

Stroud was the lone quarterback under 25 listed in the top 10. Those positioned ahead of him include four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers (No. 8), Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford (No. 7) and 2022 breakout star Jalen Hurts (No. 9).

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler Dak Prescott might raise some eyebrows at No. 6, but keep in mind that since taking over for Tony Romo, he’s led the NFC East franchise to five postseason appearances. 

Sikkema even mentioned that cracking the top 10 after one season is challenging for a first-year starter, but Stroud’s heroics were too hard to ignore. 

Cracking the top 10 after just one season may seem like a reach for Stroud, but man, his rookie year was impressive. His yards, touchdowns and big-time throw numbers all placed in the top half of the league, and he had some clutch moments and drives that were well beyond his years.

Stroud also logged the third-most completions of 20-plus yards (32) with the lowest turnover-worthy play rate in the league on such passes. That combination of success versus negative plays is unheard of for a rookie. Where Stroud struggled in 2023 was, understandably, knowing what he could and could not get away with in the NFL — and knowing when to take the chances and where to look. That’s all an experience thing. If he takes a step forward from what we saw in 2023, this top-10 ranking might be too low.

Stroud, who became the fifth passer in league history to throw for 4,000 yards in their rookie season, dominated in marquee games. He finished with six 300-yard passing performances, including four consecutive games of 304 yards and at least a touchdown. 

Stroud also led three comeback outings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts to secure a postseason bid for the first time in four years. 

He was one of 10 passers to throw for 4,000 yards in 2023 and became the first signal-caller to lead the league in both yards per game (274) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (23:5) since Tom Brady. 

Texans fans might disagree with the rankings but also remember that Houston wasn’t poignant on the main stage last season. In 2024, Houston plays six standalone matchups and four primetime games against playoff-caliber opponents. 

Stroud will also have to live up to egregious expectations if he hopes to secure another year in the top 10 rankings. He also has the supporting cast to build off his lofty goals. 

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire