Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud declared for the 2023 NFL Draft on Monday, and the Detroit Lions should be jumping for joy that he did.
Monday is the deadline for college players with eligibility left to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft, and among the last big-name question marks was Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Potential big NIL money altered the equation, and made it not quite a no-brainer.
Up against the deadline, Stroud announced his decision on Twitter.
"The process has been difficult, and the decision, one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make,” As a kid, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after much prayer, I’ve made the decision that it’s time to turn those dreams into a reality. With that said, I am declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft."
In theory, as Dane Brugler of The Athletic noted, Stroud can pull his name out of the draft by midnight on Thursday within a 72-hour window for underclassmen to change their mind. But there’s about a .000001 percent chance Stroud changes his mind here.
Detroit Lions should be very happy C.J. Stroud declared for the draft
The Lions will have a shot to take one of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft with the No. 6 overall pick, if they want to secure Jared Goff’s eventual replacement even though he will be locked in as the starter next season. Stroud would be a possible option at No. 6.
But it’s more likely the Lions will take the best available defensiver player sixth overall. The Houston Texans at No. 2 overall and the Indianapolis Colts at No. 4 overall will be firmly in the market to draft a quarterback, with Stroud now added to Alabama’s Bryce Young and Kentucky’s Will Levis as potential top-10 pick signal callers.
All three of Young, Stroud and Levis going in the top-five isn’t out of the question, with someone outside the top-five (Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders) moving up to get one of them definitely in play. Maybe the Lions consider moving down a little from No. 6, add a draft pick(s) for their trouble, then still get their guy.
In any case a top-end defender, like Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, could fall right into the Lions’ lap at No. 6. It may happen anyway, but Stroud declaring and adding a top-end quarterback prospect to the mix only boosts the chances.
Stroud’s decision probably has little impact on their own specific draft plans, unless they just love him and have to take him at No. 6 (if he’s there). But the small earthquake that may have been felt today in the area surrounding Allen Park, Michigan was just the Lions jumping up and down in the building, with the news the now-former Buckeyes’ quarterback declared for April’s draft.