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Texans C.J. Stroud Earns Highest PFF Grade Among Rookie Quarterbacks

Despite falling short of a victory, Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud earned the highest PFF grade among rookie quarterbacks.

HOUSTON — C.J. Stroud left M&T Bank Stadium dejected after losing his first official game with the Houston Texans. But outside of the team results, Stroud had a solid debut. 

He finished the game throwing for 242 yards while completing 63.6 percent of his passes. Stroud's lone turnover was the outcome of a strip sack due to playing behind a depleted offensive line

Stroud's performance earned the respect of the Baltimore Ravens and teammates. According to Pro Football Focus, Stroud finished Week 1 of the regular season as the highest-graded rookie quarterback, registering an evaluation of 55.2. 

"Stroud drew a tough assignment in Baltimore for his first NFL game. Predictably, he struggled, posting a 55.2 overall grade," PFF wrote. "Stroud made some nice throws when kept clean but, as was the case in college, struggled mightily under pressure. 

"He posted a 40.4 passing grade and made two turnover-worthy plays when under duress. He’ll need to be better protected and get some help in the running game in the near future."

C.J. Stroud

The first quarter for Stroud was rough. But once he gained his composure in the second period, Stroud displayed the skill set that led to the Texans drafting him with the No. 2 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

He executed three drives that led to field goals. Stroud's best series under center came early in the second quarter, where the Texans notched 67 yards in 15 plays.

Despite receiving the highest grade for all rookie quarterbacks, Stroud left Week 1 without throwing a touchdown pass. Indianapolis Colts' Anthony Richardson (49.3) and Carolina Panthers' Bryce Young (31.4) ended their rookie debuts with at least one touchdown pass. 

Richardson scored twice during the Colts' Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He rushed for a two-yard touchdown to open the second quarter.

"It was football at the end of the day," Stroud said. "Just getting out of the huddle, getting the plays clean, getting guys lined up and getting the play clock, things like that.

"I think those are the things that kind of hindered us a little bit. And then, just being more efficient in the red zone. So those are things I would definitely get better on."