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Texans QB C.J. Stroud on stellar rookie season: 'I wasn't surprised much'

ORLANDO, Fla. -- C.J. Stroud is rather quiet in demeanor and short on words, but that doesn't mean he lacks confidence.

The Houston Texans quarterback turned in one of the finest rookie campaigns in NFL chronicle, and it wasn't unexpected to him.

"No, it wasn't," Stroud told Saturday at Pro Bowl Games practice when asked if his quick success was a surprise to him. "I have confidence in myself. I wasn't surprised much."

While the No. 2 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft didn't surprise himself, he certainly took the league by storm. Stroud galvanized the Texans, leading a stunning turnaround as the squad won the AFC South title and took out the Cleveland Browns in the opening round of the playoffs. All this came after the franchise had suffered through three straight seasons with single-digit wins.

Stroud's 273.9 passing yards per game led the NFL as he became the first rookie QB to win a division (minimum 10 starts) since the Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott in 2016. He finished the regular season with 4,108 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions, equating to a league-best 1.0 interception percentage. His passing yardage was the third-most by a rookie in NFL history and the 22-year-old was the youngest player to ever lead the league in TD:INT ration (22:5).

Having become just the fifth rookie to throw for 4,000 yards, Stroud found instant chemistry with offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik. Slowik is returning to Houston despite plenty of interest in the head coaching cycle, which bodes well for Stroud to continue on his already stellar trajectory.

"Yeah, I'm excited, it's another year with a good coach," Stroud said of Slowik's return. "We got a lot of good chemistry. It's a real good thing."

With such a dynamic debut under his belt, Stroud and the Texans will have increased expectations awaiting in 2024. The soon-to-be second-year signal-caller is enthusiastic about the future ahead in Houston.

"Really excited," Stroud said about building on the team's success. "We've got a lot of good pieces coming back, probably add some pieces that we need. Lot of moving parts, but it should be fun."

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