The quick progression of Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud stands out, especially when compared to other young quarterbacks. Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Nov 5, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) looks for an open receiver during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While we can’t definitively say that any player will have a great NFL career after only eight games, it’s safe to say that the Houston Texans and their fans feel pretty good about quarterback C.J. Stroud. Conversely, the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans have to at least have some concerns about Kenny Pickett.

One fact demonstrates the difference in the two young quarterbacks.

Pickett was the only quarterback selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He played in 13 games as a rookie in 2022, starting 12 of them. Pickett has also started every one of Pittsburgh’s eight games in 2023. The Steelers defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-16 on Thursday, with Pickett’s fourth quarter touchdown pass to Dionte Johnson standing as the game winner. It was Pickett’s only touchdown of the night and the 13th of his career.

Stroud, like Pickett, also threw a game-winning touchdown pass in Week 9. And like Pickett, Stroud has also started all eight of his team’s games in 2023. And that’s about where the similarities stop. Because while it took Pickett 20 starts and 21 games to reach 13 career touchdown passes, Stroud needed only eight to complete his 14th career touchdown pass.

What’s crazier about the stat is that it’s not as though Stroud has significantly more talent around him. The Steelers actually have a better record.

Despite that, the staggering differences in the production of the two quarterbacks is glaring.

[Jon Ledyard]

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