There was a raging debate this past spring across the NFL media landscape: Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. The two college quarterbacks appeared to be head and shoulders above their peers in the 2023 NFL draft class, but the Panthers made the decision to take Young with the No. 1 pick. After all, it doesn’t get much better than a Heisman winner out of Alabama, right?

Turns out, the Texans are pretty happy they got Stroud with the No. 2 pick as well.

After four weeks, Stroud has distanced himself from Young and his rookie peers. Soon enough, he could be the owner of the best statistical season by a rookie quarterback in NFL history, as he’s currently on pace to shatter the record for passing yards by a first-year signal-caller. 

Following Houston’s win over the Steelers on Sunday, Stroud sits at 1,212 passing yards and six touchdown passes to no interceptions. He’s averaging 303 yards through the air per contest, so at this rate, he’d finish the regular season with 5,151 passing yards. Andrew Luck currently holds the rookie passing record set in 2012 at 4,374 yards. 

It’s worth noting that Stroud has a slight advantage over his predecessors because he has a chance to play a 17th regular-season game—an addition that was made in 2021. Nevertheless, Houston’s quarterback is on pace for history, and the organization has to be thrilled that the budding star fell right in its lap.

Most Passing Yards by Rookie QBs in NFL History

  1. Andrew Luck, 2012, Colts: 4,374 yards
  2. Justin Herbert, 2020, Chargers: 4,336 yards 
  3. Cam Newton, 2011, Panthers: 4,051 yards
  4. Jameis Winston, 2015, Buccaneers: 4,042 yards
  5. Mac Jones, 2021, Patriots: 3,801 yards