NFL rookie quarterback report cards: Biggest surprises from September

C.J. Stroud's development was evident in the Texans' upset win over the Jaguars in Week 3. AP Photo/John Raoux

C.J. Stroud is a cologne connoisseur. While talking to a reporter at his locker minutes after spraying the ball all over the NRG Stadium field for 384 yards in Week 2, Stroud -- who said he keeps 10 to 15 bottles in his rotation -- seemed to be trying to erase the scent of his Houston Texans' 31-20 loss to the visiting Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day.

When told he had begun his career with an NFL-record 80-plus passing attempts without an interception, Stroud, holding two cologne bottles in the same hand, was blunt: "Forget all that. I want a win." A week later, Stroud would get his win -- and another 280 passing yards -- at the Jacksonville Jaguars, giving way to a postgame scene that smelled a bit more like success.

Across the way back in Houston in Week 2, the victorious Colts could be found both celebrating and lamenting: Anthony Richardson had scored two early touchdowns before leaving the game with a concussion that also would keep him off the field in Week 3. The Colts are pumped about Richardson's development, with one team official telling ESPN after the Houston win that the coaching staff is "really, really pleased" with his progress. Indianapolis wide receiver Alec Pierce said the deep-ball possibilities with Richardson's arm feel just about endless.

This was an otherwise drab Colts-Texans matchup in late September. But the window into what the league's quarterback picture might look like with Stroud and Richardson in it deepened the intrigue.

Meanwhile, to the east, No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Young is navigating an ankle injury amid the Panthers' 0-3 start. But the traits that sold Carolina on him -- from his mental aptitude to his off-schedule playmaking -- will play out over a full season, the team believes.

Now that 2023's trio of first-round quarterbacks have put reps on film, we reached out to several NFL execs and scouts to assess their performances. Yes, it's far too early to forecast their futures. The initial returns have shown some concerning elements that must be improved but also have given hope that the class can be a factor for many years.