The case of CJ Stroud as Ohio State’s top long-term NFL QB candidate: A Super Bowl-winning football IQ

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Based on the Friday Buckeye Talk episode debating Justin Fields and CJ Stroud As NFL quarterbacks, we’ll explain why each is the best long-term NFL QB prospect. Here is the case of Stroud.

CJ Stroud could be the perfect quarterback for Ryan Day, making him the NFL’s top prospect at Ohio State.

His 6-foot-3, 218-pound frame makes him the prototypical size teams dream of having. He can make all the throws, has confidence in his pocket and can save time with his feet when he needs to. This was all on display in his first season as a Buckeyes starter when he threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns while completing 71.9% of his passes.

If there’s a knock against Stroud’s game, it’s that his ability — and sometimes his desire — to make plays with his legs is often non-existent. But it’s a description that accompanies the territory of virtually every quarterback who has won the sport’s most important trophy. None of them are the ultimate athlete who will dominate social media highlights.

That’s because they have an even more valuable trait: supreme football IQ.

“That’s what I love about football is that you can actually get down to business and go see it and put it on the pitch,” Stroud said. “I love dating. I love talking about this stuff. I like verbiage. I like to challenge myself. »

Stroud is a footballing spirit. A chat with him details how he sees the game and while he is able to anticipate pitches at a high level and throw full pitches in places, some pros wouldn’t even try to give it a try. Just as supreme athleticism cannot be taught, neither can this level of understanding.

This trait is why, at the peak of Peyton Manning’s career, he was often given multiple plays at the line of scrimmage, able to choose which one he wanted to run based on what he saw. This trait is why Tom Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion.

The value placed on the dual-threat quarterback has increased dramatically over the past decade. Guys like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray have become the standard for what it takes to be a franchise quarterback. Except this group has won a Super Bowl so far.

In fact, since 2010, Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are the only guys in this category to have won one. The others were won by quarterbacks who would love it if they never had to leave the pocket and instead split teams with their brains.

Athletes may fill the headlines, but spirits fill the windows.

Supreme athletes will always have more advantages. There is always a plot behind what happens when their understanding finally catches up with their natural talent. But that often just means a high and memorable summit, even if the time at the summit is short.

Cameron Newton is a prime example. He led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50 while earning MVP honors. Then he lost to Manning (a spirit) on the biggest stage. It’s a season that people will always point to when discussing his career. But it was also one of only three seasons in his career where he had a record over .500, and his subsequent downfall was drastic at just 11 years old.

Then there’s Phillip Rivers as a quarterback whose athleticism has never been a strength. He never reached the Super Bowl, but he had nine winning seasons while playing six more seasons.

The conversation between CJ Stroud and Justin Fields about Ohio State’s top NFL prospect isn’t about the top player. It’s all about which style gives you the biggest window of opportunity to win. History tells us that while supreme athletes are cooler to watch, spirits gain material.

In the field of victory, this is the most important thing.

“With football, you either get it or you don’t,” Stroud said. “It’s just one of those things that God wanted me to have, to be smart.”

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