Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State – 2015

Redshirt junior who has declared for the 2015 NFL draft. Junior college transfer in 2013.

Positives: Good height and bulk for the position. Uses strength and surprising lateral quickness to get off coverage at the line. Adequate speed and lateral quickness for the position, but above-average for the size. Tracks pretty well over his outside shoulder. Good, strong hands and can extend well to snag fast passes. Fairly nimble on the sidelines. Runs pretty crisp routes – especially for his size and especially on short and intermediate crossing routes. He demonstrates consistent ability to bring in the back-shoulder pass. Pretty good open field vision for yards after the catch.

Negatives: Shows below-average burst out of his cuts, and doesn’t change directions very quickly. Other than planned back-shoulder passes, he doesn’t adjust well to passes thrown off target and behind him. To me, it looks like a lot of his issues have to do with effort. On contested passes, where he should be more dominant with his size, he probably comes down with less than half of the passes he should. He also needs to attack the ball better in the air. Sometimes, he is late to get his hands up, like he does not expect the ball. Consistently gives below-average effort as a downfield blocker. Though his routes are usually pretty crisp, he doesn’t get a lot of separation on comeback routes or on the back shoulder passes, and makes routine catches a little bit harder. He is less effective on deep routes than he is on short and intermediate routes. Suspect balance after contact. Merely adequate acceleration. Has a fractured bone in his wrist that will eventually require surgery.

Projection: Round 2. His size and hands should make him an effective WR2 in the pros. But his inconsistencies and lack of effort definitely won’t earn a quarterback’s (or coach’s) trust. To me, he has a lot of the issues Alshon Jeffrey had coming out of college. Only time will tell if that’s a good or bad thing.

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