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2023 NFL Combine Quarterback Recap: Ohio State's C.J. Stroud Makes His Pitch

Stroud discusses the strengths of his game, and an area of improvement in it, last week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. 

During his press conference Friday morning, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud struck a balance between taking accountability for a perceived deficiency in his game while accentuating a perceived strength in how he plays quarterback.

First, Stroud put the reason for his lack of collegiate rushing attempts squarely on himself. Per Pro Football Focus, Stroud rushed 74 times for 294 yards (4.0) yards/carry as Ohio State's starter from 2021-2022; that averages out to three carries for 12 yards per game.

From's evaluation of Stroud: "Hesitance to use his legs can put a cap on his success rate."

Stroud, though, set career highs against Georgia in the 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinal with nine carries for 78 yards; his six scrambles and three missed tackles forced were also career highs.

Here's how Stroud talked about his mobility on Friday at the NFL Combine:

"I didn't do it a lot in college and I feel like I should have," Stroud said. "It's something I do regret. I feel like I could have done it a lot more. But I think when you turn on the film and you really watch what I do, and you really look at film game to game, I have used my athleticism not only just in the Georgia game where I did it a lot. I've done it in every other game.

"I've had tough third-down runs. I've had tough fourth-down runs. But there were times I didn't run the ball when maybe I should have. I feel like that's something that I learned and that's what football is about. It's about stepping back up to the plate and going back and working hard and fixing those problems. That's something I plan to fix and I'll show them my athleticism. I've done it before on film, but since people don't think I can do it, I'm going to do it again."

Where Stroud shined with the Buckeyes was with his ball placement, accuracy and anticipation, all traits he believes will help him in the NFL. Again, from "The most naturally accurate top-tier quarterback in the 2023 draft class."

"I tried to describe myself as free-flowing but still disciplined," Stroud said. "Able to take the completion when it's there, but at the same time making plays. I like to be just confident in myself. Another thing I like to do is extend plays and take the routine plays when they're routine. I don't try to press the envelope, and I think that's very important being a quarterback sometimes.

"You want to let your teammates know that you're not always trying to be Superman, but when you need to make that play and you can extend that play, you get a lot more respect from your teammates. So those are just things I like to do. I think I'm a playmaker. I think I'm very creative. And I think I'm smart when it comes to protections and things like that because I solve a lot of issues before they're even there. That's something pride myself on it.

"And one thing about me, I think I'm a ball-placement specialist. I like to be very accurate. I don't want my receivers have to do really anything to catch the ball. And I think I've shown that time and time on film."

Quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

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