Unrated by Rivals when he entered his junior college Pierce, Strong eventually would become ranked the 6th highest junior college prospect at Wide Receiver when he made the move to ASU. Now, he’s amongst the second tier of Wide Receivers entering the NFL.
When Strong joined ASU in 2013 he quickly became one of their most significant players leading the team in receiving yards and gaining a streak of seven straight games with 100+ yards. In that year, he would finish as ASU’s 5th highest reception leader of all time with 75 catches over the season while gaining the attention of national award programs such as the Biletnikoff award for his efforts. In his second year with the Sun Devils he would set the 3rd highest reception total in ASU history with 82, despite missing a game. His efforts in 2014 would help bring the Sun Devils to the Hyundai Sun Bowl where they’d defeat Duke, aided by a 7 catch 103 yard game from Strong. Now he sits just outside the top prospects of the class, with some even considering him to be a potential surprise first round candidate.
|DOB||January 25th, 1994||Bench (225 lb)||N/A|
|Weight||217 lbs||Broad Jump||10’3″|
|Arms||32-1/2″||20 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
|Hands||9″||3 Cone Drill||N/A|
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)||4.44 sec (1.57 sec)||60 Yard Shuttle||N/A|
Stats and Awards
|Arizona State University 2014||82 Receptions, 1165 Yards, 14.2 YPC, 10 TDs||Phil Steele All-Pac-12 (First Team), Phil Steele All-American (Third Team), Sporting News All-American (Second team), Sports Illustrated All-American (Second Team), CBS Sports All-American (Second Team), ESPN.com All-American, Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist, All-Pac-12 First Team|
|Arizona State University 2013||75 Receptions, 1122 Yards, 15.0 YPC, 7 TDs||John Jefferson Outstanding Receiver Award, College Football News Sophomore All-America (Second Team), Phil Steele All-Pac-12 (First Team)|
|Los Angeles Pierce College 2012||67 Receptions, 1263 Yards, 18.9 YPC, 15 TDs|
- Shows flashes of smooth, well timed route running.
- Strong high pointing capability.
- Has great flexibility and body control, able to make athletic catches when necessary.
- Has power to break arm tackles and fight through contact on routes.
- Good ball tracking skills.
- Will drop his hips on breaks and burst out. Has a very compressed breaking motion.
- Inconsistent as a hands catcher. Will pull in the ball and use his body to gain control. Will unnecessarily leave the ground to catch the ball at chest level. Will occasionally use his palms.
- Shows some vision in the open field, but overall more of a straight line runner. Doesn’t get enough separation to run after catches.
- Moldable, has very few bad traits and shows room to grow in all areas.
- Stiff Athlete.
- Doesn’t use hands or feet effectively to release from press. Consistently late on swiping defenders hands. Flashes decent foot release, but not consistent.
- Lack of sideline awareness when running routes close to the boundary. Forces the QB to have a small margin for error.
- Occasionally passive in his route running and coming off the LOS, gets off the line slowly and doesn’t seem committed. Mostly when seeing Off-Man.
- Not a willing run blocker. Will take poor angles and show poor effort. Blocks with his body, not with his arms.
- Lacks any moves in the open field and in getting out of the grasp of physical corners.
For his film, I took a wide look at Jaelen Strong’s senior year, where his blank slate of talents sometimes got confused for lack of talent, but as more film was viewed the potential became more and more visible. Games watched listed below.
- 9/25/14 vs UCLA
- 10/25/14 @ Washington
- 11/1/2014 vs Utah
- 11/15/2014 @ Oregan State
- 12/27/2014 @ Duke (Bowl Game)
Strong’s game in the NFL is going to be incredibly dependent on his route running, especially if a team is expecting him to contribute as a rookie. He’s going to work best with a QB who takes advantage of his smooth breaks and throws with anticipation often.
On this out route, Strong shows a powerful vertical release before he takes a three step back into his out route. It’s smooth and effortless.
Strong’s also not afraid of getting close to DBs on routes. He’ll attack the DB until he’s gotten them to move the way he wants them to before making his breaks. Against off coverage, he takes the time to close the gap between him and the DB before breaking inside.
On this out route, you can see both of the previous traits combine.
Then there’s routes like these, a combination of many different moves where Strong jerks the DB around. In this case, it’s potential first round corner Marcus Peters. Strong gets physical as he releases and then breaks inside by putting his hand into the chest of Peters and pushing him back. When he breaks inside he turns his head and leans his body to suggest that he’s waiting for the ball, scaring Peters and forcing an overreaction. When he turns up the field he’s on the way to being wide open, but sees the ball has already gone elsewhere when he turns his head around again.
These three fade routes show some of Strong’s athleticism but they also show one of the few questionable traits in his route running- his sideline awareness. Strong ran the fade route very often in the 5 games watched and in those games he was too quick to get close to the boundary even given his extremely wide start, leaving very little room for error from the QB. His lack of hand swiping also allowed the DB to push him closer to the boundary often, which we’ll get onto in the next section.
Continued on the next page.