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HomeSportsNFL's Insights into S2 Test Following C.J. Stroud's Performance: 'League Members Unable...

NFL’s Insights into S2 Test Following C.J. Stroud’s Performance: ‘League Members Unable to Resist’

The truth is C.J. Stroud never let it get to him, even as draft day neared and the questions started coming and the conversation around him shifted.

“Look at my perspective,” he’d say later. “I’m about to get drafted regardless of that dang test.”

He was right — Stroud, the Ohio State quarterback who was among the top prospects in last year’s NFL Draft, still went second to the Houston Texans, and in a matter of months, the 22-year-old would put together one of the most prolific seasons by a rookie quarterback in league history, lifting a franchise from the league cellar to the divisional round of the playoffs.

But his ascent was less assured last April, when Stroud’s on-field intelligence was being debated, even doubted. Most of this stemmed from his leaked score on the S2, a pre-draft cognition test that has quickly gained credence around the NFL for its ability to measure a quarterback’s mental capacity and, some believe, forecast his chances of future success.

Ten months later, it’s hard to tell the story of Stroud’s record-setting rookie season without at least addressing the reliability of that dang test and what the ensuing firestorm says about the draft process and the veracity of the information that trickles out along the way. Too often, according to several high-ranking league executives granted anonymity by The Athletic so they could discuss Stroud and the test without tampering charges, vital context is missing. Stroud’s case, they believe, is a prime example.

For starters, one exec wondered, why was his score leaked to the media in the first place? And by whom?

“I think it was thrown out there by a team that had their own goals and wanted to use it to put him down and gloat on what they wanted seen,” said one general manager whose team was not in the running for a top quarterback in last year’s draft.

“It was complete B.S. that it was leaked,” offered another GM, “but people in our league can’t help themselves.”

Last spring, Stroud was fresh off two stellar seasons as the Buckeyes’ starter and among the most polished passers in a QB-heavy draft. Along with Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, he was in the running to be the first overall selection, owned by the Carolina Panthers. The Texans had the second pick. Both teams desperately needed QBs.

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