Former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was everything scouts envisioned at his pro day Wednesday.
The biggest takeaway from his performance, in front of representatives from NFL 28 teams, was the impression he made on Carolina. The Panthers, who hold the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, showed up in full force to see Stroud perform in Columbus. Among those in attendance were team owner David Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich.
After redshirting in 2020, the strong-armed signal-caller showcased immense talent in Ryan Day’s offense, throwing for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns in 25 games over two seasons. Stroud’s 41 touchdown passes last season ranked second in the nation behind Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams (42) of USC.
At 6’3” and 218 pounds, Stroud is a prototypical NFL pocket passer whom scouts believe projects extremely well at the next level. Stroud set a Rose Bowl record by throwing for 573 yards, with six touchdown passes, in a 48-45 come-from-behind victory over Utah on Jan. 1, 2022. He also shined in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2022, passing for 348 yards and four touchdowns against a stout Georgia defense.
In his pro day, Stroud displayed what many have already seen on tape: superb accuracy on short timing routes as well as excellent placement on deep throws.
As reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Panthers took Stroud out to dinner on Tuesday night.
Carolina, which recently signed veteran quarterback Andy Dalton to join last year’s third-round pick, Matt Corral, on the roster, are expected to select a quarterback with the top pick.
Stroud is currently a -200 favorite to be selected No. 1 overall at SI Sportsbook.