May 29, 2024

Is C.J. Stroud, a rookie quarterback for the Texans, a worthy MVP contender?

In the same breath as Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes, Texans rookie C.J. Stroud is rapidly establishing himself as a Tier 1 quarterback, if he isn’t one already. He has been that good, so early, and so consistently.

But is Stroud a strong contender for MVP this year?

After his performance on Sunday, when he outperformed Burrow in his own backyard by throwing for over 350 yards and recording a game-winning drive for the second straight week, that idea has gained traction. Even some national pundits think that after ten weeks, the No. 2 overall pick is the clear favourite to win MVP.

Before the merger, in 1957, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown of the Browns became the first and only rookie to win the award. In terms of rushing yards (942), rushing touchdowns (9) and rushing yards per game (78.5), Brown was the league leader.

 

What justification does Stroud have for MVP at this point?

The Texans, who own an AFC playoff spot and have defied preseason expectations, are led by Stroud, who turned 22 last month, in passing yards per game (291.8), touchdown-interception ratio (15-2) and completions of forty yards or more (43) in the league. As of Week 10, he is the first rookie since the 1970 merger to lead the league in yards per game.

Is there an official MVP table seat reserved for C.J. Stroud?

Brown is the only rookie to have won MVP, but there are several rookies over the years who have received a vote for the award. Among them:

Giants RB Gale Sayers: In 1965, 49ers RB, tied for fourth place. Ken Willard—Tied for fourth place in the Cowboys of 1965Reuben Calvin Hill—4th place in the 1969 PackersK. Chester Marcol—Tied for sixth place in the 1972 NFL Draught Franco Harris — Shared eighth place in the 1972 Oilers Reuben Earl Campbell: Runner-up in the 1978 49ersS. Ronnie Lott—The 1981 Raiders tied for sixth place.Reuben Marcus Allen — Third for the Rams RB in 1982 Eric Dickerson, the 1983 Dolphins’ number-two quarterback Dan Marino, third in the Vikings WR in 1983 Randy Moss — 1998 Colts RB tied for third Edgerrin James, the fourth-place Titans RB in 1999 In 2008, Chris Johnson tied for seventh place.

What’s working against Stroud for MVP? 

The Texans’ current record of 5-4 and their position in the AFC playoff picture (holding the seventh seed, the final wild-card spot) are the primary concerns.

Although the Texans are currently on pace for fewer than 10 wins, Houston could be in position for a late-season surge given that it leads Jacksonville by just one game for the top spot in the AFC South and has won five of its last seven games, including two in a row.

 

There has been an NFL MVP for ten years running. They all managed teams that finished in the top two spots in their conferences for the playoffs after winning at least 11 games. The team that the MVP quarterbacked was awarded the first overall seed in eight of the previous ten seasons:2022 → Patrick Mahomes: Chiefs won 14 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed; 2021 → Aaron Rodgers: Packers won 13 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed; 2020 → Aaron Rodgers: Packers won 13 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed; 2019 → Lamar Jackson: Ravens won 14 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed; 2018 → Patrick Mahomes: Chiefs won 12 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed; 2017 → Tom Brady: Patriots won 13 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed; 2016 → Matt Ryan: Falcons won 11 games, NFC’s No. 2 seed; 2015 → Cam Newton: Panthers won 15 games, NFC’s No. 1 seed; 2014 → Aaron Rodgers: Packers won 12 games, NFC’s No. 2 seed; 2013 → Peyton Manning: Broncos won 13 games, AFC’s No. 1 seed

 

The last MVP to be on a team that won fewer than 10 games was in 1997, when Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders — a running back — accomplished the feat for the Lions. Detroit won nine games that year, finishing third in the NFC Central and falling in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

The last MVP quarterback to be on a team that won fewer than 10 games? Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts in 1959, when teams played only 12 games.

Craig Carton and Greg Jennings weigh in: Is C.J. Stroud an elite QB?

Final reflections

Despite his youth and lack of experience, Stroud has performed at a quarterbacking level worthy of an MVP to begin his NFL career. But in order for him to live up to the winning standards usually associated with MVPs, the Texans will need to maintain their winning streak in the closing minutes. History indicates that Stroud needs a division title and more in addition to continuing to run at a fast pace in order to be considered for the award.

 

The fact that the Texans’ final eight opponents—including the Titans twice—have an average win percentage of.448 helps them. Before their Week 12 matchup, Houston is only one game behind Jacksonville in the AFC South lead. Moreover, the teams’ initial meeting in Week 3 ofJacksonville: Despite missing four starting offensive linemen that day, quarterback Tyler Stroud led the Texans to a 280-yard, two-touchdown performance that easily defeated their division rivals, 37–17.

Only time will tell where Stroud stands in the MVP race by the end of the regular season, but the fact that this is a discussion point in mid-November speaks to his upside as a franchise quarterback.

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