Simms' Top 40 QBs: No. 37, C.J. Stroud

Chris Simms explains what led C.J. Stroud to land No. 37 in the "NFL Virgins" tier of his Top 40 QB Countdown, from his abilities under pressure to being a high-level thrower and more.

Video Transcript

- So you only had one quarterback ahead of Bryce Young in your college rankings this year, your draft rankings, and so he still remains ahead of Bryce Young. 37 for you in the Chris Simms top-40 quarterback countdown.

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CHRIS SIMMS: CJ Stroud, Houston Texas, the number two pick in the draft, right? You know, again, I love CJ Stroud. Yeah, he was my number one quarterback coming out. CJ Stroud, to me, I mean, he's in a spot here where it's a great offense for him. The Shanahan play action, you know, be aggressive, throw the ball that way, that's perfect for CJ Stroud.

CJ Stroud is awesome in the pocket. He is just a pure bullseye thrower of the football, and that's where I'm excited for him, not only, again, I know there was a lot of talk about his S2 all of that, but, man, it's hard to think that the S2 was real when you watch him on film. It's very few bad decisions ever. It's very few, like, whoa, he didn't see the field or the coverage the right way. I mean, it's really impressive what he does in that department, right?

So I'm excited for CJ Stroud in the long term, for sure. You know, I think he could be a star, definitely, but, you know, hey, it's a learning curve here, and he's, you know, like a Bryce Young, going to have a lot thrown on his plate, and he's not going to have the advantage of being on Ohio State's football team and all of that, and he's got some learning to do here.

But I think he'll clearly be the starter from day one. He's just a better version of Davis Mills. And, again, you know, I think what he did in college, it wasn't maybe as advanced as Bryce Young, but still pretty good. He's got a pretty good base of NFL football playbook in his brain.


- So, much like Bryce Young, we can scout some tape on CJ Stroud. We scouted the quarter speed bootleg rollout for Bryce Young.

CHRIS SIMMS: Bryce looked like a player, in what I saw. I mean, like, again--

- CJ, you mean?

CHRIS SIMMS: I mean CJ. Excuse me. CJ would have made me feel a lot better about how he looked on the field compared to Bryce, right? I mean, look at this giant of a man.

- Well, there's no one around him. I mean, they were smart. They didn't put any offensive linemen there. He's got the spot job going there, right?

CHRIS SIMMS: He's so mechanically smooth and perfect. You see how, like, effortless and flawless his motion is.


- He looks good in that helmet too, right?

CHRIS SIMMS: He looks good all together. He does. He looks like a pro already, right? So, like I said, I would have felt a lot better if I was the GM of the Texans, when he walked on the field, than, maybe, the Carolina one, where I would have been like, oh, my gosh.

- There were some concerns with him under pressure, right, in college, and I think we have a graphic. You've addressed that in the past.

CHRIS SIMMS: I don't really get it. I mean, like, this is where I challenge some of the grading companies that are out there.

- Some of them? You don't to name names here.


CHRIS SIMMS: Well, all of them. I mean, you know, all of them. It's where just the classified pressure and all of that, it's such a broad subject. There's so much context to it.

- So just randomly, I'm just going to say, we just have this stat from Pro Football Focus, related to nothing that you were just talking about, and they have, 75% of the time, about, he was in a clean pocket, but 25% of the time, he was in a pressure situation, and in those times, he was only 41% completion percentage, his yards per attempt were half of what they were in a clean pocket, and just six touchdowns to two interceptions. But you take that with a grain of salt, because you've always said to me, and I've learned this from you, you know, how are you classifying pressures and all that?

CHRIS SIMMS: And then what is he being taught against those pressures, right? That's the other thing too, is, like, you know, Bryce Young, I can look at it some of the plays and go, oh, yeah, they've got a pressure, but, look, his O-line and everybody, they've got everything fixed up, and they blocked it. Ohio State, they might have had the same blitz, right, the week before, in a game, and they just go, yeah, we don't really think they're going to blitz that a lot, or, if they do, just throw it hot to Marvin Harrison Jr., and it's like, oh, the other team didn't know that they might throw it to Marvin Harrison when we blitz, right, so they've got two guys, or whatever.

So the answers could be different, how the teams coach to handle those pressures. Some teams just go, hey, if they blitz, screw it. You know you've gotta get the ball out of your hand, and we'll live to play another day. Other teams go, hey, if they blitz, we want to take advantage of this, and we're going to stop this blitz, teach them not to blitz anymore, and gash them one time.


There's just so many different things that go into that pressure, let alone, like you're talking about, the pressure, I don't know, I mean, there's plays where I want to go back into the Michigan game, and the Georgia game, and other games, where I'm going to go, is this not pressure, with the people collapsing around him, and him throwing a 40-yard laser down the middle? I don't get it. When is it pressure?

So I did not have any problem with that at all when it came to CJ Stroud. I thought it was one of the things that he was actually the best at. When people were around him and he was under pressure in the pocket, he was unfazed, and he still threw strikes all over the football field. So I think he's made for the NFL in that capacity. He's a high-level thrower of the football, and I'm excited for what he can do in Houston.

- I'm perusing the internet for recent news on all of them, and the thing that pops up for CJ Stroud is that he's not speaking at the rookie minicamp. DeMeco Ryans telling everyone, hold your horses, brother. When they asked why CJ Stroud is not going to talk at minicamp, he says, he's not the only player that we drafted. We've got multiple guys we drafted. We want to let you guys talk to all these guys, and CJ will be able, throughout the spring, later in the spring, also in training camp, so he will be available. Hold your horses, brother. So they're the protecting him in Houston right now.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, well, maybe they just feel like there's been enough on him. Everybody's been talking about him here. They just want him to get playing football here, worry about that, and he'll have plenty of time in front of the media, and they'll be able to pepper him with as many questions as they want.