NFL Draft: Could C.J. Stroud return to Ohio State for 2023?

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State (Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports) /

The talk for the 2023 NFL Draft since basically September has been between Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and who would be the first quarterback taken. Both quarterbacks are excellent and certainly have made the case that they should be the number one quarterback.

While Bryce Young has already declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, C.J. Stroud has yet to officially announce his decision and with the deadline Monday, it raises the question of whether or not he might actually return to Ohio State and play one more season for the Buckeyes.

The decision may seem obvious to some as Stroud almost certainly will be a Top 5 pick but there is plenty of factors that go into a decision like that. He could be enjoying his time at Ohio State and wants a chance to win a National Championship, or he might see the teams at the NFL Draft and have reservations about who might draft him.

C.J. Stroud has had two incredible seasons at Ohio State with 85 passing touchdowns and only 12 interceptions during that stretch. He could return and almost certainly put up similar numbers as he will still have players like wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka to throw the ball to.

A decision like this would be surprising but wouldn’t necessarily be unprecedented. The most recent example of a top draft pick electing to return to college was Andrew Luck, who in 2011 was almost certainly going to be the first overall pick but decided to return to Stanford.

If C.J. Stroud returns to Ohio State, it will have serious implications for the 2023 NFL Draft

While C.J. Stroud still has a few days, if he does decide to return to Ohio State it will have major implications for the 2023 NFL Draft. The expectation was that there were going to be two excellent quarterback prospects in this year’s class.

However, if Stroud doesn’t declare then it really is Bryce Young and then a big gap between him and Will Levis. This would create a major bidding war for the number one pick that the Chicago Bears currently have.

This also puts the Houston Texans in a tough position at number two as they are desperately needing a quarterback and their win in Week 18 could end up costing them the chance to address the position.

It is going to be an interesting few days that could have significant implications at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft depending on C.J. Stroud’s decision.