With the 2022 NFL season coming to a close, it is time to look at the next group of NFL draftees. Let’s start off with University of Nevada’s Carson Strong. Strong is surprisingly my QB1 in this year’s class. There is a lot to like with Strong and his upside. Strong’s film this year was great, and I’m not sure why it has gone without recognition.
Quarterback, University of Nevada
WT: 226 lbs
College Career Stats
– 2× Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year (2020, 2021)
– 2× First-team All-Mountain West (2020, 2021)
Carson Strong is true to his name, as he has one of the strongest arms I’ve ever seen. The second he is drafted, he will have one of the strongest arms in the NFL. Strong’s mechanics are excellent; and has good footwork in the pocket; all this leads to a quick, accurate release. When watching him play, he surprised me with how good he is at reading defenses, it felt like he got through his reads rather quickly and found the open check down. Strong is the definition of a pocket passer, and has clearly embraced that.
The first thing that was easily recognizablle is his rare ability to hit a backside out route. It felt like every time the opposite side corner was playing off, he would have his receiver run an out for an easy reception. This is an area of the field that defenses are not used to defending, even in the NFL only a few guys have mastered this ability. This will force defenses to play the whole field and could open up more passing lanes.
Strong also was very “clutch” down the stretch and almost seemed to be carrying his team in games (Fresno St, San Diego State, San Jose State). He’s also seems immune to the pressure of the blitz. When he is blitzed, he’s able to light it up. The California Bears seemed to think since Strong is immobile, he wouldn’t be able to face a blitz, and he proved them wrong very quickly. He is able to stand tall in the pocket and is surprisingly patient when working against a blitz.
The biggest red flag is the medical concerns that come with his right knee. The issue started in his senior year of high school when he sat out the entire year due to his knee. There is very little on record regarding what happened during his college days, but we do know that he has had surgery on it. He looked comfortable with his knee during the Senior Bowl, but teams must do their due diligence before drafting him.
Compared to other top draft prospects at the quarterback position recently, it’s no secret that Strong isn’t as athletically talented. Avoiding sacks and getting out of trouble are musts in this day in age of football, and there are some questions about his play making ability.
Carson Strong is one of the most underrated prospects in this year’s draft process. He has a lot of upsides, but in a non-traditional way. Most prospects nowadays are superb athletes, and guys like Strong are usually after thoughts. He has unteachable strengths and some of the best tape in this whole draft class. I really like him and think he could be a long term answer for a traditional passing team. For the Bucs, I believe he can run a Bruce Arians offense with Carson Palmer like production and that could be worth selecting him.
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