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C.J. Stroud working with first-team offense and is “way, way ahead of pace”

Chris Simms explains to Mike Florio how Anthony Richardson landed ahead of No. 1 and No. 2 overall draft picks Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, how rookies beat out QBs who have taken NFL snaps and more.

Texans rookie C.J. Stroud took first-team reps this week in organized team activities. Although it has been billed as a quarterback battle between Stroud and Davis Mills, the No. 2 overall pick is expected to start.

Stroud, who was second in the rotation behind Mills last week, has done nothing in practice to disappoint.

C.J. is progressing well,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said this week, via Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle. “Each day, he continues to get better, continues to get more comfortable with the verbiage of the offense and his command of the huddle. I thought this week he has been really good, coming off of a long weekend. It was very eye-opening how on it he was. . . . He did an awesome job in our situational periods, So, he is definitely progressing in the right direction, and the sky is the limit for him.”

Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson seconded that assessment, saying Stroud is “already way, way ahead of pace” with his footwork and timing.

Stroud has spent his first few weeks in the NFL picking anyone and everyone’s brain. That includes Texans defensive coordinator Matt Burke and the team’s veteran defensive players.

He has impressed with his football IQ and his thirst for knowledge.

“His deliberateness and intent to try to get better -- he’s literally grabbing everybody he can on the field,” Burke said. “So, he’s been very sort of intentional about learning and just learning defense, too, like what did you call there, what was that coverage, or what did you do here. I respect that from him.”