Ohio State University quarterback C.J. Stroud has officially declared for the NFL Draft.
There was speculation building Monday morning that Stroud could return to Columbus for one final season after Brian Schottenstein, a co-founder of an NIL collective that works with Ohio State athletes, tweeted about “big news” coming Monday. But that speculation was quickly shot down by Stroud, and it turned out the tweet referring to big news was a gender reveal for Schottenstein’s baby, which is due in May.
It’s fair to say it was an unusual start to the week in Ohio State football circles.
— Brian Schottenstein (@DaSchott) January 16, 2023
Stroud finishes his Ohio State career with over 8,000 career passing yards and 85 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions. He was highly efficient with the Buckeyes, and his mobility in the pocket makes him a likely top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
“This process has been difficult, and the decision, one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make,” Stroud wrote on social media. “As a kid, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level, and after much prayer, I’ve made the decision that it’s time to turn those dreams into reality.”
Likely top-5 pick?
FanDuel, one of the mobile sportsbooks that went live in Ohio on Jan. 1, lists Stroud at +170 to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Only Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (-125) has shorter odds than Stroud to be selected first overall.
The Chicago Bears hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and they have former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields at quarterback. While they could move on from Fields, it’s seemingly more likely they trade the top pick to a quarterback-needy franchise. They could also opt to draft someone like Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter (+500) or Alabama defensive end Will Anderson (+500) with the top pick.
In other words, if Stroud goes No. 1 overall, it would be surprising if the Bears are the team selecting him in that spot.
Idk if a single game has ever influenced my opinion of a player like this performance from CJ Stroud pic.twitter.com/i98AzADy4z
— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) January 6, 2023
The Houston Texans (No. 2 overall pick) and Indianapolis Colts (No. 4 overall pick) are among the franchises likely looking for quarterbacks, with The Sporting News recently pegging Stroud to the Colts in a mock draft. The Las Vegas Raiders (No. 7 pick) and Carolina Panthers (No. 9 pick) are other teams likely on the hunt for franchise quarterbacks. Stroud figures to go in the top 10 of the 2023 NFL Draft, assuming he remains healthy between now and the first round, which is on April 27.
Ohio State’s title odds shift
Despite Stroud’s departure and multiple offensive linemen leaving, Ohio State is among the title favorites ahead of the 2023 college football season. The Buckeyes return a few key offensive playmakers, including wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Ryan Day’s team should contend for the Big Ten title — and typically a Big Ten champion is well positioned to contend for the national championship.
That’s still a slight shift from hours before Stroud’s decision. On Monday morning at approximately 10 a.m., OH Bets checked national title odds at a few mobile sportsbooks and Barstool listed Ohio State at +400 to win the title. FanDuel had the Buckeyes at +500 earlier Monday morning, before Stroud officially announced his intention to declare for the NFL Draft. Shortly after the news, the Buckeyes’ 2023 title odds lengthened.
Photo: Kyle Roberston/USA TODAY