NFL Exec Ranks C.J. Stroud over Justin Fields but Prefers Bryce Young, Will Levis

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 26, 2022

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 12: Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) on the field  during the fourth quarter of the college football game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Ohio State Buckeyes on November 12, 2022, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A national title isn't the only thing Ohio State star C.J. Stroud has to play for this bowl season.

The MMQB's Albert Breer spoke with an NFC executive who compared Stroud favorably to Chicago Bears star Justin Fields but didn't rank him as the No. 1 quarterback in the 2023 NFL draft class.

"I like him better than I did Fields," the executive said. "But he's still third in the group [behind Alabama's Bryce Young and Kentucky's Will Levis] for me."

Stroud has thrown for 3,340 yards, more than 1,000 fewer than in 2021, along with 37 touchdowns and six interceptions this season.

The third-year signal-caller is still on track to be a Day 1 pick this spring, but he might have ceded some ground to the competition. He's the No. 9 overall player and No. 2 quarterback beyond Young on Bleacher Report's 2023 big board.

The postseason was a great showcase for Stroud in 2021. He went 37-of-46 for 573 yards, six touchdows and one interception in Ohio State's Rose Bowl victory over Utah.

A similar showing against Georgia in the Peach Bowl on Saturday is bound to get noticed by NFL talent evaluators.