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KANSAS CITY — Something does not compute when one watches C.J. Stroud carve up the talented University of Georgia defense on tape last season and then hear he tested poorly in the S2 cognition test that supposedly measures how well and quickly quarterbacks process information on the field.
So I asked Stroud on Wednesday to explain what he thinks of those two incongruent facts and how he processes on the field.
“It’s football. I’m not a test taker. I play football,” Stroud said. “At the end of the day, man, I don’t got nothing to prove to nobody so I’m not going to sit here and explain how I process football. The people who are making the picks know what I can do. So that’s all that matters to me.
“There’s a bunch of people who know how to coach better, play quarterback better, do everything better on social media. But the man in the arena, that’s what tough. To step in the arena with 10 toes. And I’m going to stand on that.
C.J. Stroud Says He’s Smart
“I know what I can do. I know I can process well. If I’m not the smartest quarterback in this draft, I know I’m one of the smartest quarterbacks in the NFL when I step in there tomorrow. I have confidence in myself and I don’t think you can play at Ohio State and not be smart.
“I don’t got nothing to prove to nobody, man. At the end of the day, if you don’t trust and believe in me, I can tell you, ‘Watch this.’ “
Stroud, you’ll recall, threw for 348 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions against the Bulldogs in a college football semifinal. That was his last game at Ohio State and the lasting impression he hoped would propel him to being the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday night.
That narrative stood for a while but ask Stroud who’s going No. 1 now and he isn’t so sure anymore.
“To be honest, I don’t know,” he said. “If you asked me a couple of months ago, I would have had a different answer for you. But I have no idea.”
Not Everyone Agrees Bryce Young No. 1
What changed that seemed to put Alabama’s Bryce Young ahead of Stroud as the Carolina Panthers’ choice?
The Panthers have not said. They haven’t even admitted Young will indeed go No. 1. But the idea Young aced the S2 exam while Stroud struggled has resonated among some people.
Not FOX Sports college football analyst and NFL Network draft analyst Joel Klatt. He’s not buying that Stroud should fall because of the S2 test result.
“No. Not even close,” Klatt said. “And I don’t even know if those league sources are accurate. Let’s put that out there right away … But let’s say, sake of argument, that test was accurate. That test is trying to get me to not believe my own eyes. And I’m not willing to do that.
Analysts Cannot ‘Unsee’ C.J. Stroud Tape
“I don’t care what that test tells me when I covered him eight times, you know? And was around him in the spring before he ever started a game. I see the way he makes decisions and I see the timing with which he releases the ball based on route leverage. And I can tell you he processes football information incredibly well.”
Fellow NFL Network analyst Charles Davis also isn’t sold on Stroud having a weakness based on a poor test result.
“When you sit with a kid and you turn on the tape and he takes you through all of it, that’s your best S2,” Davis said. “I’m not denigrating the test. I don’t know enough about the test. I just know I’m at a stage in my life that I’m not kicking somebody out because I heard a test score.
“I can’t unsee him down the stretch playing.”
Stroud is confident the Seattle Seahawks are among the teams not worried about his test score or his ability to process information after meeting with coach Pete Carroll and the rest of the team’s decision makers.
“They said they liked the way I can process through plays, my IQ, and how smart I am and how I get through my reads and I recall things,” Stroud said. ” How I pick up my protections. They taught me three plays with some protections and I knocked it out of the park.
“So it was a good way for them to see how I could take the meeting to the field.”
Seahawks Loved C.J. Stroud
What happens on the field is ultimately the thing and so regardless of whether C.J. Stroud is passed over for Young at No. 1, he’s not going to be waiting long afterward to be selected.
Maybe those 41 touchdown passes and 6 interceptions have more to do with it than an 18 score on the S2.
“The question isn’t for me whether Houston should take him or not,” Klatt said. ” It’s whether Carolina takes him or not. He’s every bit as good as Bryce Young. And I love Bryce Young. But I love C.J. Stroud as well. This conversation of whether he’s going to be the second quarterback or not is crazy to me.
“Not with his body of work. Not with what he put on tape. If you just go back and look at what he did against Iowa, one of the best defenses in the country, Georgia, one of the best defenses in the country. I mean, the guy performed. And when you talk, which I did, with defensive coordinators that had to face him …
“To a man they all went into those games just petrified of what C.J. Stroud will do to you based on his ability to understand your look.”
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero
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