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C.J. Stroud declares for 2023 NFL Draft, 3 potential landing spots

C.J. Stroud
Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

A successful career with the Ohio State Buckeyes has C.J. Stroud in position to be a first-round prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. But prior to Monday morning, there was still a certain level of uncertainty surrounding whether the California native would spend another year on the Ohio State campus or if he’d take his talent to the pros.

We now have our answer, with Stroud announcing his intent to enter the 2023 NFL Draft via his Twitter page.

Now that it’s final, football scouts and draft analysts will ramp up their evaluation process for one of the top prospects in the draft class. Stroud, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 215 pounds, will certainly be viewed as a top-three quarterback and has a chance to be a top-five pick in April.

Down below, we dive into three of the top NFL fits for Stroud.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft QB rankings: Bryce Young leads best quarterback prospects in NFL Draft

Houston Texans land their franchise QB with C.J. Stroud

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one team who needs a franchise QB arguably more than any other NFL franchise, it’s the Houston Texans. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2019 and have finished with four or fewer wins in all three seasons since.

Davis Mills isn’t suddenly going to morph into a QB1 anytime soon. But Stroud should be more pro-ready than Mills was as a rookie and can also start from day one.

We did see some growing pains from Stroud in his second season as a starter in college, but after completing nearly 72% of his passes, maybe we should have anticipated some regression. Still, Stroud kept his head up and led a wildly productive season that still tops what most others are capable of.

A player who many view as the top pure passing prospect in the incoming draft class, Stroud will have no shortage of suitors. The Texans may find themselves more enamored with Bryce Young, but draft day is so unpredictable, and landing Stroud wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize at all.

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

Indianapolis Colts swing for the fences with Stroud

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have been reeling at the QB position since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement in 2019. Patchwork veterans haven’t been the solution, but now that they boast the fourth overall pick, the Colts could be in prime position to land one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Stroud would immediately become the best passer on the team, but the Colts would still want to continue reshaping their offensive line. Like many young quarterbacks, he struggles with pressure in his face and rarely uses his mobility to keep defenses honest.

Yet, Stroud also has an arm strong enough to make all the throws at the next level, and he’s shown an ability to make some really impressive anticipatory throws, displaying his accuracy. While he doesn’t look to use his mobility often, preferring to find the open man instead, Stroud really is the complete package when it comes to an ideal quarterback build.

Related: 4 best landing spots for Bryce Young in 2023 NFL Draft

Las Vegas Raiders find their next QB

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After nine years of Derek Carr driving the Las Vegas Raiders’ offense, it appears his days as the team’s franchise quarterback are coming to an end. But it comes at the ideal time, with the Raiders lucky enough to land the seventh overall pick, which should be in the exact range of where Stroud is expected to be picked.

Sure, the Raiders may have to trade up to secure their top target, but Stroud would be arguably the most talented quarterback Josh McDaniels has ever worked with. He’s never had someone with as strong of an arm who’s also mobile and accurate as Stroud is.

If a pocket passer is what the Raiders’ offense craves, they should look no further than Stroud. Just imagine the success they could have with Stroud dropping deep dimes to Davante Adams for the foreseeable future. If coach McDaniels can continue to work with Stroud, helping him become more comfortable and consistent when facing pressure, the quarterback could quickly become one of the best players in the NFL. For the Raiders, that kind of potential simply can’t be overlooked.

Related: Super Bowl odds: Every team’s championship futures for 2022-23 NFL season

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