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3 Reasons why CJ Stroud shouldn't declare for 2023 NFL draft

Ohio State v Northwestern
Ohio State Buckeyes QB CJ Stroud

CJ Stroud has been one of the best overall players in the entire country over the last two years as the starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He has been named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons, while also being a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

His dominance in each of his seasons as a starter has turned him into one of the most highly-rated prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. He is expected to be selected near the top of the first round and could potentially be a starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season. The only issue is that he hasn't yet officially declared himself eligible for the draft this year.

The deadline for college football players to officially declare themselves eligible for the 2023 NFL draft is Monday, January 16th. CJ Stroud is running critically short on time to make his decision. While the Ohio State Buckeyes are likely hoping he will return for another season, several NFL teams are hoping for the opportunity to draft him.

CJ Stroud officially has less than 48 hours to decide if he is going to enter the NFL Draft or stay at OSU.A decision that could potentially have a HUGE impact on this year’s Draft πŸ‘€ https://t.co/C0Ys8Acs2D

Many around the NFL may believe that CJ Stroud would be wise to declare himself for the NFL draft this year. However, that may not be the best decision for his long-term success and legacy.

That said, here are three reasons why he may be better off returning to Ohio State for one more season.


#1 - CJ Stroud can improve his position in the NFL draft

Ohio State Buckeyes QB CJ Stroud
Ohio State Buckeyes QB CJ Stroud

Another year in college football could potentially help CJ Stroud raise his stock in the NFL draft even further. His goal should be to be selected as the number one overall pick. It is a prestigious title and also comes with a notable pay raise. The higher a player gets drafted, the more money they are guaranteed on their rookie contract.

CJ Stoud is currently in the mix of three quarterbacks projected to go near the top of the draft. Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Will Levis of the Kentucky Wildcats are his competition. Young is currently the favorite to be the first quarterback selected. Another factor working against Stroud is that the Chicago Bears currently hold the number one overall pick.

The Bears are unlikely to select a quarterback with their first-round draft pick after the emergence of Justin Fields. Unless they trade their number one pick to another team, a quarterback is unlikely to be selected first. Next year may give Stroud a better chance at being the top pick, all things considered.


#2 - The Heisman Trophy

CJ Stroud and Caleb Williams
CJ Stroud and Caleb Williams

CJ Stroud has been named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in each of his two seasons as a starter but has failed to win the award. Bryce Young was the winner in 2021, while the 2022 Heisman Trophy was presented to Caleb Williams of the USC Trojans.

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This is the highest individual honor in all of college football, so winning it may be extremely important for Stroud. If he were to return to Ohio State, he would be one of the clear favorites to win it in 2023, along with Williams, who is also returning to college for one more season. Stroud has been close twice, so maybe the third time is a charm.


#3 - College Football National Championship

In his first season as a starting quarterback, CJ Stroud helped the Ohio State Buckeyes earn a Rose Bowl victory against the Utah Utes of the Pac 12 Conference. He set a Rose Bowl record by throwing six touchdown passes, while also setting an Ohio State record 573 passing yards.

While setting records is definitely honorable, it's likely that a National Championship victory with Ohio State would be a more satisfying conclusion for Stroud.

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In year two, CJ Stroud helped the Buckeyes reach the College Football Playoffs, where they were defeated by the Georgia Bulldogs in the Peach Bowl. Georgia went on to win the National Championship. Like his Heisman pursuit, maybe a third shot at a National Championship will result in a victory. He's gotten closer each year so far.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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