C.J. Stroud Focusing on What He Can Control, Not Worried About S2 Cognition Test Score: “You Can’t Play at Ohio State and Not Be Smart”

By Dan Hope on April 26, 2023 at 3:24 pm
C.J. Stroud

C.J. Stroud’s score on the S2 Cognition test has been one of the biggest storylines in the week leading up to the 2023 NFL draft.

According to a report last week by Go Long’s Bob McGinn, Stroud’s overall score on the test – which measures how quickly and effectively athletes process information – was only 18 percent out of 100. Projected No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young, on the other hand, reportedly scored a 98.

That test score has been cited as perhaps the biggest reason why Stroud is no longer a lock – and perhaps not even likely – to be one of the top two picks in the draft on Thursday night, even though the test score seemingly contradicts the ability to read defenses and make plays that he showed throughout his two years at Ohio State. Whether the reported test score is even accurate remains unconfirmed, as S2 co-founder Brandon Ally recently said on a podcast multiple leaked scores were inaccurate, though he did not specify which.

During a pre-draft interview session in Kansas City on Wednesday, Stroud said he didn’t even know what his score on the test was, as it wasn’t given to him after he took it. But he doesn’t think the reported score is reflective of his ability as a football player.

“I know what I can do on the field. I know I can process very well. I know I'm very smart. You can’t play at Ohio State and not be smart,” Stroud said. “The S2 test, man, it is what it is. It happened. And I'm willing to stick up (for the score) and I don’t have no excuses. I know what I can do on that field, though.”

His former Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who is also in Kansas City as one of the NFL draft’s top prospects, thinks it’s silly that anyone would question Stroud’s intelligence and ability to read defenses.

“I mean, if they haven't seen it now, I mean, he picks apart defenses. Pre-snap, post-snap, smartest player on the field at all times,” Smith-Njigba told Eleven Warriors. “Just having that in your huddle is a win for any team. So seeing all that stuff is funny, and we kind of laugh at it.”

Asked whether he thought the S2 score had been taken out of context, Stroud replied: “I'll let them handle that. I'll go play football now.”

“I know what I can do on the field. I know I can process very well. I know I'm very smart. You can’t play at Ohio State and not be smart.” – C.J. Stroud on his ability to read defenses

That’s the approach Stroud is taking to everything on the eve of the NFL draft. While he doesn’t know what team he’ll end up with Thursday night, he says the uncertainty won’t keep him awake Wednesday night.

“I'm gonna sleep like a baby, I’m gonna just be myself,” Stroud said. “I mean, I don’t gotta make the hard decision, I just gotta pull up in a suit. So I did everything I can do in my control, and now it's up to the team to pick.”

Stroud says he’s more concerned about going to a team that fits him rather than which pick he gets selected at. But he’s confident he can succeed with any of the teams who have expressed interest in drafting him.

“Every team I've talked to, I'll be excited to go to any one of them teams,” Stroud said. “I don't know what's gonna happen, we'll see. I know a lot of noise has been happening. But for me, I can only just be myself and control what I can control.”

Knowing there’s nothing more he can do to improve his draft stock with just one day to go until the draft begins, Stroud says he’s at peace with how the process has gone and trying to stay even-keeled ahead of the big night.

“I'm a competitor on the field. When it comes to decisions and draft picks and things like that, it's hard for me to compete in things I don't have control over,” Stroud said. “So of course, I would love to go to the right fit. I think that's more important to me. If that's number one, number two, number three, number 10, number 25; whatever that is, that's God's plan. And that's what I'm willing to walk with.”

Stroud says whichever team does draft him will get a hard worker, “somebody whose IQ is out of this world,” a “great man of community” and “an amazing teammate.”

“Somebody who's gonna build trust not only on the field but off. Somebody who's going to spend time,” Stroud said. “I think that people really enjoy, I feel like, being around me. I think I'm funny. I think I'm outgoing. And I can only just talk about it (right now), but I have to go prove it one day.”

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