According to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, the Indianapolis Colts are projected to select Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the 4th overall pick in his 2023 NFL Mock Draft 2.0:
Ohio State · QB · Sophomore (RS)
The Colts need to turn the page on their recent approach to the game’s most important position: cycling through veteran arms. Stroud will be a great fit with new head coach Shane Steichen in Indy.
The listed 6’3”, 218 pound junior quarterback completed 258 of 389 pass attempts (66.3%) for 3,688 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions during 13 starts for the Buckeyes in 2022.
Stroud was named a second-team All-American selection, won First-Team All-Big Ten honors (for a consecutive season) and was the recipient of both the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year Trophy.
Stroud has the prototypical size for a quarterback, but also has been highly regarded for his accuracy, decision-making, and ability to make layered throws all over the field—when provided a clean passing pocket. He’s also been renowned for his overall leadership at Ohio State.
His main critique is that while he certainly can be mobile at times, he didn’t always shown an inclination to want to run the football under duress and may lack some of the natural improvisation of some of the other top rookie quarterback prospects in this year’s class.
However, Stroud erased at least some of that concern with a strong showing as a dynamic playmaker against Georgia in the recent College Football Playoff semifinal game—demonstrating the ability to escape pressure, extend plays with his legs, and create extra opportunities on the football field.
With new Colts head coach Shane Steichen in the fold, Stroud may be among the lowest of the top dual-threat options if he’s looking to find the next Jalen Hurts. However, Stroud also has the accuracy and quick decision-making to really thrive in Steichen’s offensive system, who’s shown the ability to tailor his offense to his starting quarterback’s best skill-set.
In my honest opinion, Stroud may not be the ‘sexiest’ or ‘flashiest’ of the ‘Big 4’ top quarterback prospects in this year’s class: Alabama’s Bryce Young, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson also included, but he may be the safest of that group to turn into a pretty good starting NFL quarterback at the next level for a long time—given his size, accuracy, passing polish, and with some added (and still developing) mobility.
As such, Stroud seems like a solid pick for the Colts with the 4th overall pick in the upcoming draft.