Jaelen Strong makes scouts look silly in NFL combine
Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong already found his name in enough mock drafts that calling him a first-round pick wouldn’t be looney. Arguably, the majority of draft experts see him there, even though Strong’s speed has been his biggest criticism.
NFL.com’s draft profile of Strong quoted an NFL scout who said, "He’s not going to run fast, but it won’t matter because any team who drafts him is going to have a plan for him."
After Strong performed Saturday at the 2015 NFL Combine, such experts will need to find something else to nitpick.
The Sun Devil product put together 40-yard dash times of 4.51 seconds and 4.44 seconds. Those are just outside of being top-10 marks amongst receivers alone, but for a 6-foot-3, 217-pound receiver who on tape looks at his best catching jump balls and back-shoulder throws, it was nothing but a positive result.
Earlier in the day, Strong’s 42-inch vertical jump became the fourth-best among wideouts in the past 10 years, per NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer. Georgia’s Chris Conley set the 2015 mark with a 45-inch leap.
Strong, who left ASU following his junior season, might be a lock for the first round soon enough.
Strong is projected to go 18th overall in FOX Sports’ Pete Schragers’ first mock. Sporting News’ Eric Galko has Strong going seventh, while CBS Sports’ Rob Rang predicts Strong will be drafted 19th.
Here are a few reactions to Strong’s combine performance from some of the top NFL Draft experts.
Some great buzz abt #ASU WR Jaelen Strong. Fantastic ball skills & today wowed NFL ppl with a 4.44 40 and 42-inch vertical.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 21, 2015
ASU WR Jaelen Strong making 1st Rd case. 42" VJ is outstanding. 4.44 40 (unofficial) is surprising. He showed elite ball skill on 2014 tape
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 21, 2015
ASU WR Jaelen Strong ran 4.51 40. NFL Net analyst Mike Mayock has compared him to Larry Fitzgerald — who ran a 4.63 at the combine in '04.
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) February 21, 2015