Pro Day Tour Prospect of Day: Strong

The Packers were at Arizona State, where wide receiver Jaelen Strong was the star attraction. Here's a look at Strong's career — including some stats we guarantee you've never seen — as we examine this potential first-round pick. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY)

Based on where the Green Bay Packers deployed their scouts, we present our Prospect of the Day, featuring career notes and a snippet of his official NFL scouting report, courtesy of the NFL’s longtime head scout and frequent Packer Report contributor Dave-Te’ Thomas.

Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong

Career highlights

— As a junior in 2014, Strong led the team with 82 receptions, which ranked 15th in the nation. He also placed 16th in the FBS ranks with 1,165 receiving yards (14.21 average) and scored 10 touchdowns. He missed one game with a concussion.

— Strong was targeted 145 times, pulling down 56.6 percent of those tosses. Of his 82 catches, 62 went for first downs. He converted 12-of-37 third-down passes. Strong had 17 receptions of at least 20 yards.

“Physical, dominant, huge catch radius. Anything you throw in my vicinity, I’ll try to go get it,” he said.

— He had monster games against UCLA (12 catches, 146 yards) and USC (10 catches, 202 yards and three touchdowns, including a 46-yard, game-winning Hail Mary).

— He was charged with two drops but had 21 passes deflected away by the opposition. That’s the most of any of the 10 highest-ranked receivers in this class.

— Strong was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation’s top receiver. He was second-team all-conference and won some first- and second-team All-American accolades.

— Upon arriving from a junior college in 2013, Strong dealt with a nagging ankle injury that limited him throughout part of the season. Nonetheless, he appeared in every contest, starting 13 times. He led the team with 75 receptions for 1,122 yards (15.0 average) and seven touchdowns to earn second-team all-conference.

— During that season, he became the first wide receiver in the school's history to achieve multiple 100-yard receiving games in his first four starts, and he went on to post five 100-yard performances in his first six starts.

Scouting Combine

Measurables: 6-foot-2 3/8, 217 pounds. 9-inch hands. 32 1/2-inch arms.

Testing: 40 — 4.44 (1.57 for 10 yards, 2.59 for 20). Vertical — 42 inches. Bench: DNP (A/C sprain). Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches. 20 shuttle and three-cone drill — DNP (hamstring). Only Georgia’s Chris Conley beat Strong’s vertical among the 44 receivers.

Note: Strong had a formal interview with the Packers at the Combine.

Scouting Perspective

Like Louisville’s DeVante Parker, Strong is a big, physically imposing receiver who excelled in 2014, despite injury issues that saw two quarterbacks split time for the Sun Devils. He tallied 1,062 yards behind 75 grabs that included ten touchdowns, but did miss one game (Washington State) after suffering a concussion vs. Oregon State. A non-qualifier out of high school, he spent two seasons at Pierce Junior College before joining the ASU program last season. Strong shows very good foot speed and quickness, along with an explosive up field burst, drawing comparisons to Atlanta’s Roddy White. He does a very good job of closing the cushion and creating space up field. On short routes, he is better vs. the cushion than the press due to his stance, but can power through effectively. He can find the open areas in the zone and sit down. While he has good foot speed, he seems to be more comfortable working as a possession receiver. The weak area of his game are his inconsistency in finding the soft areas on the field, but he does a nice job of tracking the ball and shows very good body control adjusting to throws outside the cylinder, maintaining his focus in traffic to win lots of jump ball battles with defenders draped all over him.

“The red zone is something big, physical receivers love to be in, go up and get the ball, box them out," Strong said. "I was watching film on Jimmy Graham. I know he’s a tight out but he loves to box the cornerbacks out and go get the ball. That’s just something I look forward to adding to my game as well.”

Draft Outlook

Strong is the No. 4 receiver in this class, according to rankings from Thomas, who is the NFL's head scout.

“It’s a great wide receiver class," Strong said. "We’re all friends. We’re all close to each other. We all push each other. Me and Kevin White are great friends, work out together at EXOS in Arizona. It’s been a pleasure to work with somebody like that. We’re pushing each other every day and we can’t wait until tomorrow.”

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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