Texans’ C.J. Stroud Speaks Up In Defense Of Panthers’ Bryce Young

C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans had the first two picks of the 2023 NFL Draft last spring, and they took quarterbacks Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, respectively.

Now, the Panthers probably wish they could go back in time and change their pick.

While Young struggled mightily during his rookie campaign, Stroud was brilliant, posting phenomenal numbers and leading the Texans to an AFC South division title and a playoff win.

However, Stroud has spoken up in defense of his good friend, saying that you can’t possibly pin the issues solely on Young.

“In his shoes, I feel a lot of stuff didn’t go his way that was out of his control,” Stroud said during an appearance on The Pivot podcast. “You know, like, you can’t make a play if someone didn’t make a block. You can’t make a play if someone (doesn’t) catch the ball. When you watch the tape, Bryce did a lot of great things, you know what I’m saying? He’s gonna be a great player, but it takes time.”

In 16 games, Young threw for 2,877 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 59.8 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 73.7.

Meanwhile, Stroud appeared in 16 contests and totaled 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and five picks while completing 63.9 percent of his throws and registering a passer rating of 100.8 en route to a Pro Bowl selection.

“Everyone’s path is different,” Stroud said. “Maybe I had a good rookie year, and Bryce is going to have a great second year. Hopefully, I’ll do (that) too. But I told him, like, ‘You the one, bro. You the one for a reason.’ … And he’s not going to, but (I told him), ‘don’t ever look at yourself different, bro.'”

Stroud is right in that Young did not exactly have much help in Carolina this season, and the fact that he was sacked 62 times is clear evidence that his offensive line did not do a very good job of protecting him.

Regardless, the NFL is a results-based business, and if Bryce Young can’t get it together soon, the Panthers will continue to lament the fact that they did not select C.J. Stroud.

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