While Geno Smith has played very well this season, he is soon to become a highly sought after free agent at the end of the season, meaning it is possible the Seattle Seahawks will be looking for their franchise signal caller in the offseason. Luckily for the ‘Hawks, they own the Denver Broncos first round pick, which thanks to their continued collapse currently sits at third overall. Sitting at the top of this year’s QB class are Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Down below we are going to look at what both bring to the table as well as what their ceiling and floors are at the next level.
Quarterback - Third year junior - 5 foot 11 inches - 197 pounds
Games watched - 2021 Georgia SEC championship - 2022 Texas, Tennessee, LSU
- Young is not a panicky player; he always seems to know where his receivers are as well as exactly what to do in the situation. He has shown that he is capable of running a two-minute drive in the NFL with multiple late game winning or tying drives at the college level.
- Young has great arm strength allowing him to make hash to opposite sideline throws as well cover 2- or 3-hole shots. When on the move Young’s arm strength does not slip as he has the ability to generate power on throws off of one foot.
- Young has very good accuracy in the short and intermediate areas of the field. He is in rhythm with his receivers on just about all of these throws, hitting them routinely in the numbers and getting the ball out the second his back foot hits on 1 or 3 step drop backs.
- He does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield when blitzed even when he leaves the pocket allowing him to stay a thrower first until he crosses the line of scrimmage.
- In terms of eye discipline Young does a great job of not locking onto his read rather working from read 1 and coming off of it quickly if it is not there. There are plenty of plays in which Young works to the third or fourth read on the play before making a throw or exiting the pocket.
- Young can be a threat in the running game when he wants to be, although he mainly looks to stay a passer and will only run in emergency situations or if there is a clear chunk available.
- As a deep ball thrower, Young is good but his balls at times do float inside rather than being thrown over the outside shoulder of the receiver to take it away from the defender.
- Young’s accuracy does slip when blitzed as his mechanics suffer. His lower half can get a little tight against the blitz and his upper body falls away slightly even if there is no immediate pressure.
- Overall Young does need to feel additional blitzers a hair earlier to allow him to get the ball out before he is pressured and rushes.
- Young does need to improve on using his eyes to move defenders more to provide him with easier throws against zone coverage.
- Young needs to do a better job on understanding there are some plays where he has to give up on them. He took unnecessary hits and sacks both in and out of the pocket in order to extend a play that had no chance of resulting in anything.
Young’s blend of the clutch factor, a rapid release, high football intelligence (FBI), poise and very good accuracy give him the ceiling of a franchise quarterback who could challenge for MVPs, however his tight base as well as accuracy and mechanical problems against the blitz give him the floor of a good starting quarterback.
Quarterback - Ohio State - Third year junior - 6 foot 3 inches - 220 pounds
Games watched - 2022 Notre Dame, Penn State, Maryland, Michigan
- When everything is on time and in rhythm Stroud is a very accurate passer on schedule 15 yards and in.
- Stroud did display a good understanding of additional blitzers and how to replace them in the quick passing game.
- When in the pocket Stroud has good footwork as he does not get too flat footed nor does have a skinny base.
- He features a good pocket slide that allows him to avoid rushers that are coming up field.
- When scrambling Stroud does a good job of staying a passer as long as he possibly can before he becomes a runner.
- On schedule deep balls do struggle at times as they are either inaccurate or float too much, although he also possesses the ability to drop a deep ball perfectly in the bucket.
- When plays break down and Stroud has to move off of his first read or his spot in the pocket his accuracy dips significantly. On the move Stroud is a below average passer, he consistently places the ball on the wrong shoulder of the receiver or misses them entirely.
- Stroud needs to clean up his decision making as there were far too many instances in which he either forced a throw rather than giving up on the play when it broke down or he simply forced a throw into a plastered receiver. He showed a willingness to throw across his body into traffic which are interceptions waiting to happen at the NFL level.
- There were far too many instances in which Stroud would not come off of his read until 2 and a half seconds into the play. This resulted in him being far too late to his second read meaning he either had to escape the pocket before he could get to his second or third read or escape the pocket.
- When escaping the pocket Stroud far too often turns his back to the line of scrimmage rather than keeping his eyes down field for the entirety of the play.
Stroud’s abilities as an on-schedule passer, good pocket slide, willingness to remain a passer and good FBI give him the ceiling of a starting QB. However, his questionable accuracy off script, struggles when throwing on the move and slower processing speed give him the floor of a backup QB.
Additional note on Stroud - On film he shows an ability to make just about every throw accurately, however, there are far too many negative plays in between the good ones which gives me significant pause on him as a prospect.