At the dawn of his NFL career, Stroud has looked the part of a franchise quarterback through three games.
"The best thing that happened to the Houston Texans franchise was us beating the Indianapolis Colts last game, last year," tight end Brevin Jordan said Sunday, via ESPN's DJ Bien-Aime. "We drafted the right guy. Man, he's a leader. He's a phenomenal player and a phenomenal guy with God-given talent. Dude, he's unbelievable."
It's hard to argue with Jordan after Stroud shined on a day the two other first-round rookie QBs missed due to injury. Still, there is a long way to go before making any definitive statement on the careers of Stroud, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson.
In three games, Stroud has posted 906 passing yards, third-most by a rookie QB in their first three career games since 1970 -- Cam Newton (1,012), Justin Herbert (931). He's added four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His 121 pass attempts without an interception are the most through a player's first three career starts (Warren Moon with 103).
"I have great guys around me," Stroud said. "Nothing I can do without those guys up front battling, the receiver running the right route at the right depth, [offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik] calling the right plays at the right time."
Sunday, Stroud proved poised in the pocket, made the right read repeatedly, avoided pressure and displayed pinpoint accuracy. He finished 20-of-30 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and wasn't sacked after taking 11 the first two weeks. The rookie shined against pressure, completing 8 of 12 passes for 115 yards and a TD for a 125.3 passer rating versus pressure. Stroud burned the blitz by dropping a pretty 68-yard bomb to Tank Dell for the game-sealing TD.
"Everything starts with the quarterback," head coach DeMeco Ryans. "We have a good one who's done really good things. He's improved every week. That's what I really like and admire about C.J., he's dialed in to improving every week. He's not satisfied. He's been a leader for us for the offensive unit, and it's impressive to see a young man go out and continue to get better each week and lead that group."
Through three weeks, Stroud has shown splendid improvement and the ability to function despite less-than-ideal blocking and next to no run support. The key for the rookie is how he responds as defenses get more tape on his tendencies and start taking things away.