Mike Florio and Chris Simms examine what C.J. Stroud’s S2 scores indicate about his potential to play at the NFL level and how it could contribute to where he gets drafted.
- CJ Stroud.
- And there was an event, a Play 60 event yesterday in Kansas City. The guys are there for the draft, so there was a lot of sound. There was an opportunity to talk to these guys, CJ Stroud. And, as you know, I didn't want to get into his S2 scores. I don't want to get into this stuff that the team should keep private, but Stroud addressed it yesterday. He chose to address it. That makes it relevant. Here he is talking about the reportedly poor score that he got on the S2 test.
CJ STROUD: I'm not a test-taker, I play football for me. But at the end of the day, man, I ain't got nothing to prove to nobody. So I don't-- I'm not going to sit here and explain with how I process football. The people who are making the picks know what I can do, so that's all that matters to me.
There's a whole bunch of people who know how to coach better, know how to play quarterback better, know how to do everything on social media, but the man in the arena, that's what's tough is stepping in the arena 10 toes. And I'm going to stand on that, and I know what I can do.
I know I can process what I know. If I'm not the smartest quarterback in this draft, I know I'm one of the smartest quarterbacks in the NFL when I step in there tomorrow. So I have confidence in myself, and I don't think you can play at Ohio State and not be smart. So I don't got nothing to prove to nobody, man, at the end of the day. If you don't trust and believe in me, all I can say is watch this.
- Now, some would say the S2 test isn't about intelligence. It's about processing.
- It's more of reactions.
- And the things that would be, could be more relevant than-- the Wonderlic is ridiculous. It's useless. The only reason they keep doing it is they've always done it.
- But not every team does the S2 tests, which tells me until it's universal, I don't think we can accept the outcome as any sort of universal truth.
- I hear you.
- If even only one team isn't doing it, it's not universal.
- No, I hear you. It's not universal. It's still a new test to the NFL. It's a test where just a few years ago I had teams tell me, oh, we got this test that lets you know we got it. I got a test that really-- so yeah. It's continuing to filter throughout the league, and now more and more teams have implemented it into their system, right?
And here's the-- listen, CJ Stroud, again, on the field number one quarterback, no doubt about it. A lot of people I talked to in football, it's no doubt. He's one or two when you watch the film. I don't like talking about this. I mean, it stinks. You're right. We shouldn't really know. It shouldn't be made public. But the fact is it is made public, and the fact is that it's real. It's not like-- this is not-- this is-- I talked to too many people who don't have a horse in this race. They're not involved in the quarterback thing.
And here's the one thing that the S2 and why this whole thing is happening with CJ Stroud. It has not been predictive of success in any way. So just because you get a high score does not mean you're going to be good at football. But the thing that I think is really hurting him is the low score has pretty much predicted failure. That's across the board.
And so, that's where, as you know, teams very conservative. There's, hey, my butt's on the line, and we have one thing of evidence here that shows us when you go below this line it doesn't work, you know? And there's not many certainties in this sport as there is, but this one's proving to be pretty certain. That's what scared people, and that's a real thing going on behind the scenes right now. And, you know, like it or not, it is a reality of the situation, and it's unfortunate he's got to answer these questions, but this is definitely what's scaring teams behind the scenes right now.
- It just underscores the fact that it's all a projection. You make your projection. You do your rankings based, primarily, if not exclusively, on film, but there's other stuff that is used to try to take what the guy does at college and adapt it to bigger, faster, stronger, react more quickly.
- Right. More plays, more offense, more checks.
- And that's where this S2 comes into play.
- Yeah, exactly. Right. Right.
- But how do I react? How will I react? And is there a correlation between the S2 test and the ability to not get overwhelmed by what happens at the next level. I think back to Giovanni Camozzi, taken in round three by the 49ers in 2000 instead of Tom Brady. He was ruined, as Steve Mariucci would later explain it, by his first preseason game. He realized this ain't for me.
So that's part of what they're trying to bake into this, this projection. We know what he did in college. Now we have to take that and figure out how it translates to the NFL, and it's imperfect. The whole thing is imperfect. And it's not like the guy's not going to get drafted. It's not like he's going to be a first round draft pick at all. He's going to be. The question is it two.
- Is it 10, or is it somewhere in between. I don't think he's falling out of the top 10, and that's why-- because people say, well, why does it matter that it's being leaked? All the teams know. Here's what happens. It gets leaked. The media reacts. The fans react. The owners get skittish. The GM's get skittish. Once it's out there, it's more stuff to get used against you if the guy fails.
- You drafted that guy?
- You knew about this.
- The test says you're not going to be good. Exactly.
- We knew about it, and he failed.
- Exactly. Yes.
- That's what it does.
- It doesn't change the knowledge that they have.
- But when we have it and the fans have it, it changes the reaction to a guy who fails.
- Right. No. Exactly right. That's what it is. And then when you have that, you're right. It can be used against 'em to where, like, things I just said. Well, they knew his test wasn't good and he didn't process that good. They had that information. Why did they pick him, right? And it's going to be interesting. I don't have a feel. I'm with you in the fact that, like, I don't think he falls out of the top 10 either, but I have no feel or inkling at all about who's going to take him right now, Mike. I don't.
And that's what's odd. I mean, again, like I said, early on in the process, I mean, it was no doubt, you know? I put out my rankings. I get lots of calls and texts from people. Oh damn. Yeah. I'm with you. Stroud definitely top two on film, blah, blah, blah. Oh, I love Stroud. I love Stroud. And then these results started to come in, and people start to dive in more, and it's a real issue for the guy right now.
- You know what the best litmus test would be?
- For Stroud? What Mike Vrabel would do at number 11.
- I hear you there.
- Given his ties to Ohio State.
- He was there.
- That's fair. Yeah. You're right. He worked with Brian Day and everybody.
- Surely a few phone calls and he'll have everything he needs to know on whether or not any of this noise about CJ Stroud is real, and they're looking for a quarterback clearly.
- How about this, Mike?
- You're making a bunch of calls.
- How about this? Do you think do you think this scares future quarterbacks from ever taking the S2? Does it become a thing where it's just like there's no point?
- Hey, Chris, I've been saying for years that players should refuse to take the Wonderlic test, unless and until they get an ironclad guarantee that the number is not going to be given to anyone, and I think the same thing should apply to the S2 if this stuff is going to be weaponized against me.
There are certain aspects of this process that are unavoidably public. You can't hide the 40 time. It's an event from which the NFL profits.
- The other stuff that isn't public--
- Right. Right. Go ahead.
- No. I was going to say, no, you're right. I mean, and you're saying I want to run. I want to do that. So it's public. You're right. I'm just confirming what you were saying.
- Yeah. But the point is if there's information that is presented and harvested in a way that is private and it's going to be weaponized against me, yeah, I'd love-- hey, you're talking to the right guy. Anything that pushes back against the process, anything where the players take control and say don't give me this crap that it's all a job interview. It's not a job interview. This isn't for my benefit. It's for your benefit. I'm getting a job. You all are trying to figure out who's going to give it to me, but I'm getting a job.
If I say-- especially a top prospect, I can't wait for the day the top prospect says, you know what? Screw all of you. I'm not doing anything. I'm not coming to the Combine. I'm not doing a Pro Day workout. I've done my work for free. Well, at least I get a little NIL money now, but I'm not doing anything else until somebody pays me to do it. And if you don't want to draft me, good. Somebody else will, and I want to play for the team that's smart enough to draft me based upon what I did in college.
I long for the day. The closest of that was Deion Sanders when he went in to meet with the Giants and they had this big binder test, and he said when do you pick? And they told him. He said, hey, I'll be gone by then, and he got up and left. That's the kind of attitude I want to see from the top prospects.
- Now, you've got to be a top prospect to get away with it.
- That's right.
- That's the only caveat.
- You do.
- You better be a top prospect.
- You're right. It'll be used against you for the lower ones. And even for the top prospects at quarterback, it could make teams uncomfortable. It could. Oh wait, he doesn't want to take this test? I don't know. Whatever. Oh wait, this guy does?
- Oh, we need robots. We need robots.
- I know. So it'd be interesting to see where that whole conversation goes, but it's unfortunate for CJ Stroud. And, to me, he's definitely one of the headlines of the draft tonight because, like I said, people I talked to, I just have no feel for where he ends up right now. I put him at the Falcons at 8 in my mock, Mike, because I just went-- I was I'm thinking they're going to be like, whoa, we didn't think he would be here at 8. OK, we will take a quarterback, but we'll see where it all goes.
- This is one of the benefits of talking and talking and talking about something. It took that long for me to finally realize how important Mike Vrabel's position on Cj Stroud is, and should be regarded by others because Vrabel really is in a position to have more actual accurate inside information on Stroud than anyone else.