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C.J. Stroud thinks it’s not an accident his S2 score was leaked

Chris Simms explains to Ahmed Fareed which players he considers the best in the 2023 NFL Draft class, from Jalen Carter to Bijan Robinson and more.

We weren’t going to mention the S2 test results that were leaked to a reporter and then reported to the world. But since one of the players who had a low S2 score has spoken about the issue publicly, it’s impossible to ignore it.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud addressed the situation on Wednesday. And he seems to believe the effort to paint him in a negative light was deliberate.

It’s not on accident things come out,” Stroud said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s not on accident that people throw dirt on my name and I definitely think that whatever that means, ‘cause people benefit from things, people don’t, and I definitely know that who I am as a person, I’m going to continue to just be myself. So I know that it wasn’t on accident, that it happened on purpose. I’m not dumb, but at the same time I can still realize who I am and I can just be myself.”

Things don’t happen accidentally in the days preceding the draft. Teams that really like a player, in the ultimately example of Machiavelli meets football, will leak negative information in the hopes that a player will fall to that team. Also, agents that represent one player will push negative information regarding players represented by other firms.

Some would say that, because all teams have the same information, it doesn’t matter. But it can make a difference. If the media and then the public become aware of red flags, owners can become concerned about taking that player. Owners might then ask more questions, with the mere asking of the questions prompting cautious executives and/or coaches to go in a different direction.

The S2 test isn’t a traditional intelligence test. It focuses on processing abilities. Stroud believes it says nothing about his football abilities.

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

Not every team uses the S2 test. Some, however, swear by it, especially for positions like quarterback.

Regardless, Stroud remains a top prospect. In the grand scheme of things, we’re splitting hairs. But with so much money and the future prospects for the player and the ongoing employment of those who make the picks riding on the top of round one, the stakes are very high.