C.J. Stroud Revealed What He Was Doing When Texans Traded for Stefon Diggs

Getty C.J. Stroud reacts after a game.

Ding. Ding. Ding.

Text notifications interrupted visions of Nico Collins and Tank Dell dancing in C.J. Stroud’s head.

The 2023 Rookie of the Year was fast asleep when he awoke to the news that his Houston Texans made a blockbuster trade with the Buffalo Bills for legendary receiver Stefon Diggs.

He rubbed his eyes. Was he still dreaming? Surely he was.

“I was asleep; I had been on the West Coast, back home in L.A., so I was knocked out,” Stroud told the media on April 15. “I keep my phone under the stairs; I get a lot of phone calls. So I didn’t really know and I woke up, and my boy Chase B texted me. He’s like, ‘How you feelin’, bro?'”

Sleepy but very excited.

Texas QB C.J. Stroud & New Toy Stefon Diggs Get to Work

Ahead of Houston Texans kicking off voluntary offseason workouts on April 15, quarterback C.J. Stroud was getting his drills game on with his new receiver, Stefon Diggs.

It wasn’t the first encounter for the quarterback-receiver duo. Stroud shared that the two met in February at the 2023 Pro Bowl Games.

“I met him at the Pro Bowl,” Stroud said. “We got to meet each other; I got to meet his kids and see what type of person he was. We’ve been able to grow our relationship from there. It’s really cool to be able to go from that scene to him being a teammate of mine, and I’m really excited to get to work with him.”

Diggs joins fourth-year veteran Nico Collins and youngster Tank Dell, whose incredible rookie season was cut short by a broken leg with four games left to go in the regular season.

Texans QB C.J. Stroud Highlights 2023 NFL Draft Class

NFL Draft classes can’t be judged fairly until about five seasons out, but after a year, one player certainly stands out.

Selected second overall in 2023, C.J. Stroud took the league by storm and put on a rookie quarterback Master Class. He started all 15 of his appearances, completing 319 of 499 pass attempts for a rookie franchise-record 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions. Among his slew of record-shattering accomplishments was a 100.8 passer rating, good for third-best by a rookie in NFL history.

In a near-unanimous polling of Associated Press sports writers, Stroud garnered 48 of 50 first-place votes with L.A. Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua receiving two first-place votes.

“Both Carolina and the Colts likely turned green watching C.J. Stroud transform into a legitimate MVP candidate months into his NFL career,” Around the NFL podcast cohost Marc Sessler wrote in a draft class ranking for NFL.com, where the 2023 class landed at No. 13.

“Attached to the white-hot Texans, Stroud can do it all, whipping 23 touchdowns to just five picks as a newbie. With Stefon Diggs and Joe Mixon added to Houston’s laundry list of weapons, Stroud finds himself in prime position to push this organization to the brink.”

The Texans lost in cringe-worthy fashion to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs divisional round but finished the regular season at a respectable 10-7—their best record since 2019, when they last made the postseason. Houston has everything it needs to retake the AFC South and go toe-to-toe with their opponent in 2024.

The top-ranked QB draft class currently belongs to 2004, with three of the first off the board most likely headed to the Hall of Fame: Eli Manning (No. 1), Philip Rivers (No. 4) and Ben Roethlisberger (No. 11). Manning and Roethlisberger are surefire first-ballot inductees. With no Super Bowl rings to his name, Rivers might have to wait his turn.

If Stroud’s career is anything like his first season, he’ll have a bust in 2040.

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