CJ Stroud received a harsh welcome to the NFL in his first preseason game after being picked off by Patriots defensive back Jalen Mills. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 Draft, Stroud struggled in his first professional action.
Houston and New England faced off on Thursday night, kicking off both teams’ preseasons. While there’s not always a ton to take away from the exhibition matchups, fans were quick to comment on the Texans’ new quarterback’s errant pass.
On his first drive, Stroud ran into issue.
Though he completed his first NFL pass and led the team to a first down on his first possession, his success would come to a screeching halt. Immediately after moving the chains, the signal caller was sacked for a 15-yard loss.
Two plays later on 3rd and 21, Stroud was intercepted by the New England secondary.
Jalen Mills intercepts CJ Stroud on the opening drive!
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2023
The pass wasn’t particularly close to his intended target, Tank Dell, allowing cornerback Jalen Mills to undercut the throw and return it 13 yards.
Football fans and media immediately responded to CJ Stroud’s pick.
CJ Stroud with a nice welcome to the NFL pick… had a great drive going.
I can hear @BostonConnr screaming “Pats are Back” from his apartment
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 10, 2023
CJ Stroud, welcome to the NFL pic.twitter.com/xlxBaFXhOE
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) August 10, 2023
CJ Stroud is picked off on his opening preseason drive 😳
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 10, 2023
Welcome to the league, CJ Stroud 😅
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) August 10, 2023
While not much weight will be put into his first preseason contest, it’s certainly not the start that Stroud wanted to get off to.