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6 reasons why CJ Stroud is already NFL ROTY and the best quarterback you don’t know about

Houston Texans rookie CJ Stroud is having the type of season that will break the mold for what a quarterback can do in their first NFL season, and it’s why he is a budding superstar you need to pay attention to.

For months heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, football experts around the country debated if former Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young or Ohio State star CJ Stroud should be the top overall pick. However, as the event drew closer, a low score on the S2 Cognition test, while Young had the highest, seemed to slow the buzz on the Big-10 talent, and the momentum behind Young to the Carolina Panthers intensified.

Related: NFL QB Rankings – C.J. Stroud, Joshua Dobbs climb, as Bryce Young and Mac Jones slip into Week 10

When Stroud landed with the Houston Texans, the prevailing belief was that Young had the better route to success. He had a QB-friendly and veteran head coach in Frank Reich, and talented Pro Bowl veterans like Miles Sanders, Adam Thielen, and DJ Chark to help make life easier in year one.

Stroud had a former defensive coordinator and first-time head coach overseeing his debut season, and lesser-known skill players in Dameon Pierce, Nico Collins, and Tank Dell as his weapons. Yet, after nine weeks in the NFL, Stroud’s team is 4-4, while the Panthers have struggled to get one win this season.

However, the Texans’ success this season hasn’t been due to an impressive defense or a breakout season from Pierce. Instead, Stroud has been at the center of their early success as he has broken several rookie records and is among the best QBs in several major statistical categories halfway through the season.

Related: Top 2023 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates – C.J. Stroud in a league of his own

Yet, because he plays for a franchise with a 142-195-1 all-time record that had three double-digit losing seasons entering 2023, he is still flying under the radar for many NFL fans. Well, that ends now. Here are six reasons why CJ Stroud is already the AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year after nine games, and is a player you need to know more about.

6 amazing CJ Stroud stats after just nine games

cj stroud, houston texans
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

CJ Stroud set single-game rookie record for passing yards and rating in Week 9

In Week 9, Stroud exploded onto the radar of some football fans with an absurd performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only did he lead them to a come-from-behind win with less than a minute left, but the youngster broke the single-game rookie passing yards record by nearly 40 when he posted 470 yards.

However, he also put up a new record for rookies with a ridiculous 147.8 rating.

Sixth player in NFL history to throw for 450 yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

The Texans QB’s otherworldly performance in Week 9 also put him in a special group with just six players, including NFL icon Peyton Manning, for having a game with 450 or more passing yards, at least five touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Texans QB broke the record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career (191)

cj stroud, houston texans
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Stroud drew a lot of attention to himself early in the season when he put together the most impressive streak of consistent smart football any rookie has ever had. It took the former Buckeye six games and 191 passing attempts before he actually tossed his first interception in the NFL. A stat even some high-level veteran QBs are hard-pressed to do even now.

Stroud leads NFL with 14-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio

Stroud isn’t just a standout among rookie quarterbacks, he is actually better than many veteran signal-callers this season. Through the first nine games of the season, he has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the league at 14-1.

It is a ratio better than superstar QBs like Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, and Patrick Mahomes.

102.9 passer rating is fourth in the NFL

Along with his impressive TD-to-INT ratio, he is one of the elites in the sport in passer rating. The unique stat measures a quarterback’s efficiency in one statistic that combines completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions. His 102.9 rating heading into Week 10 is better than Lamar Jackson (100.8), Dak Prescott (100.7) and Justin Herbert (97.3).

Stroud has nearly twice as many yards and touchdowns as Bryce Young after Week 9

cj stroud, houston texans
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston quarterback will be compared to Young for years to come since he was taken after him in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, not only is his team doing better than Young’s, but he is also crushing him in a couple of major stat categories after their first nine weeks.

Stroud has almost twice as many passing yards (2,270 to 1,375) and touchdowns (14 to 7) as Young, as well as three times fewer interceptions (7 to 1).

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