Experienced and successful against good college talent
Should be able to play immediately
Lacks deep speed
Should improve route-running
Summary: Strong's a junior college product who made an immediate impact for Arizona State in 2013. He turned in six 100-yard performances that were highlighted by a 12-reception, 168-yard game against Stanford and its quality cornerbacks. For the year, Strong amassed 75 receptions for 1,122 yards with seven scores while playing injured. There were a few games in which he gutted it out, but he clearly wasn't the same player.
Entering 2014, Strong worked hard to add more muscle to his frame and improve his route-running. The hard worked paid off as the junior was a more polished wideout who did a superb job of outfighting defensive backs for 50-50 balls. Strong recorded 82 receptions for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns for the year. He was very consistent throughout the season.
Strong was a force against the teams from Los Angeles in back-to-back games. After hurting UCLA (12-146), he came up with a huge game to push Arizona State to a last-second victory over USC. Strong got that latter game started with a short touchdown catch and followed it up by getting open on a post route for a 77-yard touchdown. On the final play of the game, Strong did a great job of tracking a Hail Mary pass and cutting in front of the defenders to haul in the 46-yard touchdown as time expired on USC. He hauled in 10 receptions for 202 yards with three touchdowns.
Strong held his own going against Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. He beat Peters for a 16-yard touchdown on a slant and a 23-yard reception along the sideline. Peters had his share of wins as well. Strong finished with three receptions for 55 yards against one of the top talents at corner for the 2015 NFL Draft. A week earlier versus Stanford, he had another quality outing with eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Strong has the potential to be a play-maker in the NFL. He is a phenomenal red-zone receiver who can go up and make catches over defensive backs. The junior has good body control to work the sideline and does a great job on the back-shoulder throws that are en vogue in the pros. Strong has good size and run-after-the-catch ability to work the short to intermediate part of the field on slants, digs and crosses; the staple routes of a West Coast offense. Strong has quickness to get downfield, but he isn't a burner and not a true deep-threat receiver. His route-running was improved in 2014, but he still needs refinement for the NFL.
The Combing proved Strong to be faster than previously thought with a 4.44-second time in the 40-yard dash. He won't be a burner in the NFL, but that is fast enough where he can get downfield and beat smaller defensive backs on jump balls.
For the 2015 NFL Draft, Strong looks like a late first-round pick or early second-round pick. If he falls out of the first round, he shouldn't last long on Friday night.
Player Comparison: Kenny Britt. Strong's game is similar to how Britt's was when Britt was playing well early in his career. They are nearly identical in size, and Britt (6-3, 220) was a dangerous run-after-the-catch receiver when healthy. Britt also showed quickness to make plays and move the chains. If Strong pans out in the NFL, he could be a receiver like Britt.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, San Francisco, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Cleveland, Baltimore, New England, Seattle, Oakland
There are a lot of teams that could target a wide receiver in the first or second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Vikings could use a target for Teddy Bridgewater. Greg Jennings is aging, while Cordarrelle Patterson had a down 2014 season.
The 49ers could use more young receiving talent given the age of Anquan Boldin and the hazy future of Michael Crabtree in San Francisco. Similarly, the Texans need a future No. 1 receiver to replace Andre Johnson.
The Chiefs need to give Alex Smith more receiving weapons to work with. Their top producer in 2014 was tight end Travis Kelce and running back Jamaal Charles came in third. Kansas City badly needs a receiver to go on the other side from Dwayne Bowe.
The Dolphins could move on from Mike Wallace, and Strong could be a good fit in the Miami offense.
It is obvious that Cleveland needs to improve its receiving talent. Josh Gordon can't be counted on in the organization's long-term plans, and the Browns have to give their quarterback - whomever that is - something to work with.
Baltimore could be a good fit for Strong as a back-shoulder sideline target to pair with Joe Flacco's big arm. The Ravens taking Strong makes a lot of sense.
The Patriots and Seahawks could also both stand to improve the receiving weapons for their franchise quarterbacks. Strong could be a nice value pick late in the first round for either team.
Oakland badly needs to give Derek Carr some weapons to work with, and Strong could be a great value for the Raiders' second-round pick.