CJ Stroud’s NFL Draft stock continues to rise.

Stroud is in the mix with 3 other quarterbacks who are expected to be high picks in the 1st round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

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Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft for ESPN has Stroud going No. 2 overall to the Indianapolis Colts. His projection includes a trade-up scenario for the Colts, who currently own the No. 4 overall pick.

Here’s Kiper’s analysis on the situation:

Over the past 25 years, the Colts have taken two quarterbacks in the first round: Peyton Manning, a Hall of Famer, and Andrew Luck, who was on a Hall of Fame track before he retired at age 29. Can they nail their quarterback pick again?

Stroud’s accuracy and arm strength are underrated, and his touch to all levels of the field is the best in this class. In Indianapolis, he would have a No. 1 wideout (Michael Pittman Jr.) and a top-tier running back (Jonathan Taylor). I don’t think the Colts are that far from contending in the AFC South. Stroud would give new coach Shane Steichen a jolt of energy to get this team back on track.

Stroud is coming off of an excellent season with the Buckeyes. He saved perhaps his best game for last against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Against the Bulldogs, he threw for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 42-41 loss.

Ohio State’s most recent 1st round quarterback was Justin Fields, who went No. 11 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. The last Buckeye quarterback to be taken in the top 5 was Art Schlichter in 1982 (4th overall).