Should the Commanders consider trade for C.J. Stroud if QB falls?
By Dean Jones
Should the Washington Commanders consider trading up for C.J. Stroud if the quarterback becomes a shocking faller during the 2023 NFL Draft?
This time of year is full of smokescreens as teams around the league try to influence proceedings elsewhere before the 2023 NFL Draft. This is often unfair to certain prospects, who get picked apart more than most and in some cases, see their stock drop significantly at the wrong time.
Perhaps the one player impacted more than most by this in recent days is C.J. Stroud. The best pure pocket passer in this year’s class has endured some rough criticism of late through no real fault of his own, which has led many to believe he could be a faller out of the top five if teams decide to go in a different direction.
While this would be a bombshell of epic proportions considering the qualities Stroud displayed in college, anything can happen when the draft rolls around. But how far would the signal-caller have to fall before the Washington Commanders identify him as someone of interest?
Could the Commanders trade up for C.J. Stroud?
Ron Rivera is obviously planning to move forward with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett as their starting options next season. The pair will participate in a training camp battle to determine who’ll be Washington’s No. 1 on opening day, with the head coach stating the best player will play regardless of what others believe is the better option.
However, with a new ownership group coming into the fold shortly and Eric Bieniemy having his own set of ideas, doing something a little more daring cannot be dismissed. Whether that’s Stroud remains to be seen, but one could make a strong case for the Ohio State product being a significant upgrade on anything the Commanders have right now.
There’s been talk of Stroud not interviewing well, scoring poorly on the S2 Cognitive Test, and skipping the Manning Passing Academy – although what that has to do with anything remains a mystery to me.
Stroud can make every NFL-caliber throw. He’s accurate on all three levels, is rarely flustered in the pocket, and has far more athleticism than many give him credit for.
His performance against Georgia in the college football playoffs should have alleviated any doubts about Stroud’s potential once he gets to the NFL. The Commanders have swung and missed on quarterback trades during the draft previously, but the pressure on Rivera in 2023 might indicate a gamble like this is well worth considering.
Of course, people will bring up the late Dwayne Haskins, who emanated from the same program. However, Stroud has everything in his locker to become a star in no time at all.
If Stroud makes it past the Las Vegas Raiders or Atlanta Falcons at No. 7 and No. 8 respectively, it’s tempting. The cost will be steep, and this would put the Commanders out of the running for some quality prospects emerging from the collegiate ranks in 2024, too.
With high risk comes high reward. If Stroud did drop, he’d also have a huge chop on his shoulder, even if Rivera looks likely to avoid such temptations and stick with their current options.
Something the head coach and primary decision-maker is betting his job on in no uncertain terms.